Jury acquits 1, hung on 2nd in Oakland warehouse fire

By  | 

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - The Latest on verdicts against two men charged with involuntary manslaughter after a fire in a California warehouse killed 36 partygoers (all times local):

Oakland 'Ghost Ship' Fire graphic by MGN. Photo: Jim Roberts / Twitter

2:55 p.m.

A jury has acquitted one man of involuntary manslaughter but couldn't reach a verdict for the leader of an artists' commune accused of turning a California warehouse into a cluttered maze that trapped 36 partygoers during a fast-moving fire.

Jurors on Thursday found Max Harris not guilty but said they could not unanimously agree on whether to convict or acquit Derick Almena of involuntary manslaughter. They have deliberated since Aug. 26.

The December 2016 fire broke out during an electronic music party at the so-called Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland, killing 36 people.

Prosecutors allege the men were criminally negligent when they illegally converted the building into a residence for artists and held unpermitted events.

The defendants said government workers failed to raise concerns about fire hazards in the warehouse.

___

12:25 p.m.

A jury has reached verdicts for two men accused of turning a San Francisco Bay Area warehouse into a cluttered maze that trapped 36 partygoers during a fast-moving fire.

Defense attorney Brian Getz says his client, Derick Almena, and Almena's co-defendant Max Harris will hear their fate Thursday afternoon after a three-month trial on involuntary manslaughter charges.

They face up to 39 years in prison if convicted.

The December 2016 fire broke out during an electronic music party at the so-called Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland, killing 36 people.

Prosecutors allege the men were criminally negligent when they illegally converted the industrial building into a residence for artists and held unpermitted events inside.

The defendants say city workers are to blame for not raising concerns about fire hazards in the warehouse.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)