The leaseholder of a cluttered Oakland warehouse where 36 people died during a 2016 rave is reportedly scheduled to plead guilty on Friday.
In exchange for a nine-year sentence, Derick Almena, 50, is expected to plead guilty to 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter, families of several victims told the East Bay Times last week.
Almena would avoid another trial with the guilty plea. His first one ended in a hung jury.
It remains to be seen how much of a nine-year sentence Almena would actually serve, considering the time he’s already spent behind bars.
Almena and the property manager, Max Harris, were charged roughly six months after a deadly blaze tore through the two-story illegally converted warehouse during a Friday night party in December 2016.
The space was turned into a residence and event space for artists dubbed the “Ghost Ship.”
Furniture, extension cords and other flammable materials were packed inside the building, trapping partygoers who struggled to escape the second floor via a narrow, ramshackle staircase.
The building had no smoke detectors, fire alarms or sprinklers, and only two exits.
Harris, the self-described “creative director” of the space who collected rent, was found not guilty in the 2019 trial.
Almena had been jailed since 2017, but he was released in May over coronavirus concerns and after posting a $150,000 bail bond.
He is on house arrest with an ankle monitor in California where he lives with his wife and children.
With Post wires
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