Man accused in fire that killed 36 expected to plead guilty

Man accused in fire that killed 36 expected to plead guilty


OAKLAND, Calif. — A man going via a 2d trial after a furnace killed 36 birthday celebration goers at a San Francisco Bay Area warehouse he’s accused of illegally altering into a cluttered artist enclave is predicted to plead responsible later this month, spouse and teens of a range of of the victims said.

Derick ALENA, 50, is predicted to plead accountable to 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter on Jan. 22, households of severa furnace victims cautioned the East Bay Times Wednesday.

The family stated Alameda County prosecutors informed them all through a video title Wednesday that in alternate for his responsible plea Almena will get a nine-year sentence — even though he would possibly additionally serve little or none of it because of time already served and suitable conduct at the same time as he used to be incarcerated.

Prosecutors and Almena’s attorneys can't statement on the case due to the reality they continue to be beneath a gag order imposed with the aid of Superior Court Judge Trina Thompson.


Almena is charged in the Dec. 2, 2016, fireplace that swept via an digital track birthday birthday party at the so-called Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland.

Prosecutors allege Almena, who used to be the master tenant on the lease, used to be criminally negligent when he grew to come to be the industrial developing into a residence for artists and held activities barring applicable permits.

The developing used to be packed with furniture, extension cords and different flammable fabric but had fully two exits and no smoke detectors, fireplace alarms or sprinklers, prosecutors say.

Almena, who was launched from prison over coronavirus concerns, maybe won’t be locked up again, even although he may also additionally proceed to be monitored in his home any different 1 half years and be situation to three years of supervised probation.

A jury deadlocked on the charges in September and a new trial has been scheduled for July. Almena’s co-defendant, Max Harris, was acquitted of the equal charges.

“My coronary heart dropped, in particular when I heard it used to be going to be a slap on the wrist. I choose my daughter back; we want to be with our household persons who died. He receives to be with his family,” said Colleen Dolan, the mother of sufferer Chelsea Faith Dolan.

She stated households were now not knowledgeable of the plea deal chance before Wednesday.

“I’m truely disappointed in how the DA’s handled this case and even higher in the outcome,” stated David Gregory, whose daughter Michela Angelina Gregory died in the fire. “I guess now we are supposed to genuinely go on with our lives as if this is some thing we must definitely accept.”

Almena had been at the back of bars in view that 2017 but used to be launched from the penal complex in May due to the reality of coronavirus concerns and after posting a $150,000 bail bond.

He stays on residence arrest with an ankle screen in the city of Upper Lake, the place he lives with his spouse and children.

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