Derick Almena pleads guilty for Ghost Ship deaths

Derick Almena, Ghost Ship, Ghostship Fire

Derick Almena booking photo.

After his first trial in September of 2019 ended with a hung jury, Derick Almena, the master tenant of the Ghost Ship warehouse, pleaded guilty Friday to 36 charges of involuntary manslaughter relating to a fatal 2016 fire.

According to the Bay Area News Group, Almena is expected to be sentenced to 12 years in the plea deal, but with time served will likely only spend about 18 months in home confinement and three years of supervised probation.

Almena signed the lease on the warehouse with the intent to use it as an art collective, but in practice it was also used as living space and even hosted events. During one such event in 2016—a dance party—a fire broke out, and due to the lack of fire sprinklers and safe exit routes three dozen people died.

Sentencing will take place in March, at which time the victims’ families will have a chance to speak. Many are expected to object to what they see as a lenient sentence.

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