Judge sentences Almena, following his January 22nd guilty plea to 36 counts of Involuntary Manslaughter
Oakland, CA- Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley today announced Derick Almena was sentenced to serve a 12-year split prison sentence for his role in the deaths of 36 individuals from a massive fire that occurred at an Oakland warehouse on December 2, 2016.
On January 22, 2021, Mr. Almena pled guilty as charged to all 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Mr. Almena was the master tenant of the property that later became known as the Ghost Ship. Under his leadership and direction, Mr. Almena transformed the property from a vacant warehouse to a substandard live-workspace that also hosted illegal “raves.”
“Thirty-five out of the thirty-six people who lost their lives in this tragic fire were attending a concert that night. They had no idea just how dangerous the building really was,” explained DA O’Malley. “They went to the Ghost Ship with the expectation of being entertained and returning safely home.”
By pleading guilty to the 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter Mr. Almena accepts his criminal responsibility for his role in the fire and the tragic loss of life that followed. In 2019, the case against Mr. Almena was previously the subject of a six-month long jury trial resulting in a mistrial for Mr. Almena. His co-defendant Max Harris was found not guilty by the jury.
Mr. Almena’s split sentence requires first he serve a total of nine years in local prison. The remainder of this nine-year sentence maybe served on house arrest with a GPS monitor. Upon completion of this nine-year local prison sentence, Mr. Almena is required to complete three years of mandatory supervision, during which he will be monitored by the Probation Department.
Mr. Almena must pay restitution in an amount to be determined by the court. He must also pay the court-ordered fines and fees associated with this offense.
“From the very occurrence of this tragedy, the families and loved ones of the victims have been at the forefront of our minds,” said DA O’Malley. “Although this case is now resolved, those who tragically lost their lives that night will be remembered and mourned forever.”
Since December of 2016, members of the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office have been dedicated to working with the families of those who lost loved ones as well as with survivors of the blaze. The District Attorney’s Office will continue to provide this needed support to the families of each victim.
There will be a restitution hearing on this matter on April 30th.
Information released by Alameda County District Attorney’s Office