Skip to main content

Ghost Ship defendant pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter

A 2016 fire at the warehouse killed 36 people

The master tenant of the Oakland warehouse known as the Ghost Ship, which used to host unlicensed DIY parties, has pleaded guilty to 36 charges of involuntary manslaughter following a devastating fire during an event in 2016 that killed 36 people.

Derick Almena, 50, pled guilty in exchange for a 12-year sentence. It means that a second trial will no longer be required after the first ended with no verdict. As part of the plea agreement, Almena will face between nine and 12 years in jail. He was, however, already released on bail last year and likely won't return to prison due to credited time served and good behaviour.

Last year, families of the Ghost Ship fire victims received a $32.7 million settlement from City Of Oakland. At this time, 32 of the 36 lawsuits related to the fire were settled, with $23.5 million given to the families of those who died in the fire, and $9.2 million going to Sam Maxwell, who survived while sustaining life-changing injuries.

Ghost Ship had been converted into a living space and arts collective in Oakland, and was hosting an event featuring artists from local label 100% Silk when a fire broke out in December 2016. Among those who lost their lives in the fire were a number of key figures in the local Bay Area electronic music scene such as 100% Silk artists Nackt (otherwise known as Johnny Igaz) and Cherushii (otherwise known as Chelsea Faith Dolan).