A court hearing found Max Harris not guilty of involuntary manslaughter charges in the 2016 fire at the Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse, according to CNN affiliate CNN. The jury failed to adjudicate Derrick Almena and manipulation was announced.
[Previous version, posted at 4:45 p.m. ET]
Jurors convicted two men facing 36 involuntary manslaughter charges in a 2016 fire in an Oakland warehouse, Ghost Ship, Alameda County Sheriff's Office said Thursday.
Prosecutors allege that the store's tenant, Derrick Almena and Max Harris, who helped lease the lease and acted as creative director for the 10,000-square-foot art collective, are guilty of the blast.
Almen and Harris face up to 39 years in prison if nine women, three-member jurors find them guilty on all counts. The process began in May, and discussions began last month.
It was one of the deadliest nightclub fires in US history and the deadliest American nightclub fire since West Warwick, Rhode Island, burst into flames in 2003.
Almen, 49 and Harris, 29, allowed more than two dozen people to live in the destroyed building, arranging large quantities of combustible materials from floor to ceiling and misleading employees and building owners, prosecutors said, announcing the charges two years ago.
There were also music parties. The fire came during one such event ̵
1; an electronic dance party on December 2, 2016. Three dozen people died because they were unable to escape from the building. One of the exits of the warehouse was blocked and the building lacked important safety features such as fire alarms, marked exits and sprinklers, according to authorities.
The father of twins and a member of the choir of teens among the victims
The defendants' attorneys argued that the arson had ignited the fire that their clients could not prevent and they presented a witness who testified that she heard a group between 14 and 19 Years Old Men Congratulations on Starting the Flame, CNN affiliate KPIX reported.
Plea bargain transferred
Last year, Almena and Harris pleaded no contest to 36 charges of involuntary manslaughter, and Alameda County District Attorney Teresa Drenik said a man would be evicted lawsuit and will be sentenced in August 2018. Almena is expected to receive nine years in prison, Harris six.
One of Almen's attorneys, Tony Sera, told reporters that the plea was "an act of ethics and morality" and not a gross admission of guilt.
"This is not a legal basis concluded because of a legal need. We had viable protection from my point of view and from many lawyers," Serra said, according to CNN affiliate KGO. "This is a legal basis that is written as a moral imperative to eliminate all the trauma and pain and suffering that anyone who touches on this case endures."
Earlier, Almen told NBC's morning broadcast that " incredibly regretful, "while his lawyers stated that the charges were wrongful justice and" an attempt to buy a redemptive victim from our client. "
The warehouse has not been inspected for 30 years.
Before the men could be sentenced. Judge James Kramer put the deal down after ruling that Almen had not shown enough remorse, according to CNN affiliate KRN.
Defense attorneys tried to persuade Kramer to reinstate him , but the judge – who made his decision after hearing two days of testimony from grieving families – will not back down,
at least one a family member expressed disappointment with the deal, saying that while the victims' loved ones want to hear men plead guilty, the sentences offered feel inadequate.
"We just wanted a little justice, just not to be two or four years with time spent, "said David Gregory, who lost his daughter Michela in the fire." We do not think this was fair justice. "
Men also face civil cases.
Darren Simon and Aggie Martin of CNN contributed to this report.