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Categories: News

Ghost Ship Trial Jury Deliberations Start Over

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Jury deliberations in the Ghost Ship trial will start over after Judge Trina Thompson dismissed three jurors for misconduct, KTVU reported.

Three alternate jurors were brought in. The jury had been deliberating for 10 days and must start again without consideration of previous discussions. The jury swap comes three years after the Oakland warehouse fire killed 36 people in 2016.

The warehouse’s master tenant Derick Almena and event organizer Max Harris each face 36 counts of manslaughter for each person killed. Leading up the announcement, the nine jurors were separately filed into the courtroom.

The fire broke out on Dec. 2, 2016 and killed 36 people, who were trapped in the building. Ghost Ship, a two-story maze-like artists’ space, featured RVs, pianos, refrigerators, and a wooden staircase to the second level, which apparently became inaccessible during the fire. It took firefighters several days to uncover the remains and identify the victims.

While friends and family of the victims mourned, the Alameda County District Attorney’s office began the tricky task of identifying who to blame. Was it the city’s fault, for not shutting down the warehouse — known to be rife with code violations — down? Or, was it landlord Chor Ng and her children, property managers Kai and Eva Ng, who were to blame?

In the end, the charges that stuck the strongest were those brought against Almena and Harris. On July 3, 2018, the two both pled no contest to 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter after pleading not guilty in 2017. But one month later, a judge threw out the plea deal.

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Nuala Sawyer Bishari and Ida Mojadad

Nuala Sawyer Bishari is the News Editor at SF Weekly. Follow her on Twitter at @TheBestNuala or nualawrites.com.

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