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Ghost Ship fire suspects go on trial

Each defendant could now face 36 years in prison... 

Ghost Ship Oakland trial DJ Mag
Ghost Ship Oakland trial DJ Mag

The trial has begun for Derick Almena and Max Harris, the two suspects believed to be responsible for the deadly fire at Oakland club Ghost Ship during a 100% Silk party in 2016. 

The pair face 36 counts of manslaughter, including the deaths of artists Cherushii, Nackt, Cash Askew, Obsidian Blade and Visual Aids. Both defendants were given nine and six year sentences respectively in 2018, but Judge James Crane rejected this due to a lack of remorse shown by Almena. Families of the victims also criticised the leniency of the original decision.

If convicted this time, the men could potentially each receive 36 years in prison. Almena's legal representative has stated he plans on arguing defence based on the tragedy being the result of arson, with Harris' lawyer also looking to argue that blame should be placed at more feet than the defendants alone. This includes the local government, fire department and landlord, Chor Ng, who it has been claimed was aware of deficiencies in the building's electrical wiring before the blaze. 

Oakland city officials and Ng face civil cases, due to start in October. 

Avalon Emerson, who played one of her first sets at Ghost Ship's predecessor, Ghost Town, dedicated her BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix of last summer to the victims, closing the two-hour selection with Oakland band Them Are Us Too.

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