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Ghost Ship fire: judge declares mistrial

One man was acquitted on 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter, while jury deadlocked on second

A judge has declared a mistrial in the court proceedings for the tragic Ghost Ship warehouse fire of 2016. 

Max Harris, who was involved in putting on events at the converted warehouse, has been acquitted on 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter from the tragedy, while the jury could not reach a verdict on Ghost Ship's lead tenant and lease holder, Derick Almena.

Following the replacement of three jury members, and an order to re-open deliberations for reasons that remain unknown, the mistrial was declared by superior court judge Trina Thompson after almost six months of deliberation.

Ghost Ship, a warehouse that had been converted into a living space and arts collective in Oakland, California, was hosting an event featuring artists from local label 100% Silk when a fire broke out in December 2016, resulting in the deaths of 36 people.

In 2018, it was announced that Almena (39) and Harris (29), would go to prison for nine and six years respectively. The sentences were ultimately rejected by Judge James Crane following criticism from the victims of families at the leniancy of the sentencing and what was considered to be a lack of remorse from Almena.

The Alameda county chief assistant district attorney, and the district attorney’s office, plan to review the open case and evaluate whether to retry Almena. Almena's co-defendant, Harris, was found not guilty on all charges. 

A charity compilation was released by 100% Silk following the tragedy, with 50% of profits from sales being donated to Safer DIY Spaces, an Oakland-based coalition offering guidance, financial assistance, and labor to non-traditional creative community spaces. You can purchase 'Silk To Dry The Tears' here.