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  1. #451
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    The preliminary hearing has been postponed until Wednesday. It was supposed to begin at 8:45 this morning.

    The much-anticipated preliminary hearing for the criminal proceedings of two former Ghost Ship tenants, Derick Almena and Max Harris, accused of causing the deaths of 36 people attending a dance party on Dec. 2, 2016, was postponed until Wednesday.

    The hearing, which was assigned to a department at the Rene C. Davidson courthouse in Oakland Monday morning, was moved because the judge in that department is out sick. Almena and Harris face 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter each.

    Some family members of the victims were present Monday, including Maria Vega, the mother of Alex Vega, 22, who died in the arms of his girlfriend Michela Gregory, whose family was also present.

    “It feels like it just happened yesterday,” Maria Vega said, with tears in her eyes.
    http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/12/0...ing-postponed/

  2. #452
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    Here's a long article discussing the prelim:

    The five-day preliminary hearing will be the first time an Alameda County Superior Court judge hears the prosecution’s evidence against master tenant Derick Almena and Max Harris, before deciding whether they should stand trial.

    As many as two dozen witnesses — from former Ghost Ship residents, visitors who survived the Dec. 2, 2016 inferno and law enforcement officials — have been subpoenaed, multiple sources said.
    ...
    In documents filed in June, prosecutors said Almena and Harris allowed people to illegally live and throw parties at the artist collective that they altered in violation of building and fire codes. The District Attorney’s Office also focused on two staircases in the two-story, 31st Avenue building.

    Almena, 47, built the front staircase out of wood, a ramp or “gangplank,” according to the DA’s office. Harris, 27, is alleged to have blocked the back staircase on the night of the fire.
    ...
    Aaron Marin, who escaped the inferno in harrowing fashion by jumping from a second-story window, said in an interview Wednesday there was DJ equipment blocking the top of the back stairwell, but he was able to “squeeze” past it.
    ...
    However, despite the prosecution’s claims that Harris blocked the pathway, Marin and former Ghost Ship resident Carmen Brito said it’s not clear who did. Marin is expected to be the first witness called in the criminal case on Monday. Brito has received an order to appear as well.

    Brito, who was there the night of the fire, said she doesn’t understand why Harris was arrested. The Oakland resident said the fire’s origin and path was at the bottom of the back staircase, so it’s unlikely anyone could have escaped from above there. She told the same thing to fire investigators days after the fire.
    http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/12/0...r-anniversary/

    More at the link. Remember Carmen Brito? She's been a supporter of both Almena and Harris since the beginning. Here's a transcript of an interview with her from December 5, 2016:

    https://www.npr.org/2016/12/05/50446...-were-a-family

  3. #453
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    Quote Originally Posted by MsMarple View Post
    Here's a long article discussing the prelim:



    http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/12/0...r-anniversary/

    More at the link. Remember Carmen Brito? She's been a supporter of both Almena and Harris since the beginning. Here's a transcript of an interview with her from December 5, 2016:

    https://www.npr.org/2016/12/05/50446...-were-a-family
    Well, she can certainly visit him in jail, and then (if justice is served) in prison and she can have many, many years, days & hours to catch him up on the living survivors of the "family." <gag>


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  4. #454
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    Assuming this goes to trial, I would hope they would live stream it. Given the number of victims, it would be nice for all family/friends to be able to watch it even if they were unable to travel to the actual trial.

    Does anyone know if trials in this area are ever live streamed?

  5. #455
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    Was just coming here to post that a prelim hearing is on for tomorrow! Thanks for posting the article! Seems I get Google Alerts one day late....
    ~~Life isn't about waiting for the storms to pass... It's about learning to dance in the rain!~~
    ~~We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience!~~
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  6. #456
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    Just another for today's hearing:

    Wednesday, December 6th:
    *Prelim Hearing @ 8:45am PT - CA - Ghost Ship Warehouse Fire in Oakland on Dec. 2, 2016 killing 36 people - Derick Ion Almena (47), and Max Harris (27), charged with 36 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter; entered their not guilty pleas. They remain in custody at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on $750,000 bond and face up to 39 years in prison each if convicted. Prelim hearing could last 5 days. 11/20 Prelim hearing was postponed to Dec. 4th; & postponed again to Dec. 6th.


    ~~Life isn't about waiting for the storms to pass... It's about learning to dance in the rain!~~
    ~~We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience!~~
    ~~Veni, Vidi, Velcro! I came, I saw, I stuck around!~~

  7. #457
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    A musician who was at the Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland's Fruitvale district last year when a fire broke out that killed 36 people testified today that a large inflatable projector blocked a passageway on the warehouse's second floor.

    Aaron Marin, 46, the first witness in the preliminary hearing for Ghost Ship master tenant Derick Almena, 47, and creative director Max Harris, 27, said that the projector, which was used to show large images during a music party at the warehouse at 1309 31st Avenue on the night of Dec. 2, 2017, made it hard for people to move around the building's second floor.
    ...
    The purpose of their preliminary hearing, which is expected to last five days, is to determine if there's enough evidence for them to stand trial.
    ...
    Jose Avalos, a woodworker who is the second witness in the case, testified he lived at the warehouse for about two and a half years before the deadly fire and described it as "a place where there were caring people and where you could be yourself and express your passions."

    Avalos said he paid $565 a month in rent, plus a small amount for utilities, to live at the warehouse and said between 15 and 25 people lived there at various times.

    Avalos said he paid his rent to Harris but denied that Harris was second in command to Almena at the warehouse.
    ...
    Avalos will continue his testimony when the hearing resumes on Thursday.
    http://www.ktvu.com/news/witness-tes...host-ship-fire

    Smoke started to come from behind him too, surrounding the walls and building. It got so thick it was hard to breathe and people started to come back up the front steps, shaking their heads.

    “I just sat there and accepted that it was just over for me,” Marin said.

    During his description of the tragic events, family and friends of the 36 victims present in the courtroom were emotional. A couple held each other in the courtroom audience, their heads resting on each other. Another man closed his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest as if he were praying.

    As many as two dozen witnesses, including former Ghost Ship residents and visitors to the electronic dance party that led to the inferno, are expected to testify. Marin and another man, Jose Avalos, a former tenant of the warehouse, were the only two to testify Wednesday.
    http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/12/0...-begins-today/

  8. #458
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    From yesterday, an interview with Derick Almena:

    On the eve of his [Almena's] preliminary hearing, he spoke to KRON4’s Dan Kerman.

    “It’s a fire. They don’t know how it started,” Almena said. “It happened and people got trapped. Now, let’s talk…I want to talk about how people got trapped. You know, like who is the cause of that? It wasn’t me. Those were staircases, and we brought pianos and organs up every day. You keep wanting to talk about this fire…that staircase saved people. If I didn’t put that staircase in, there would have been no way out.”

    “And I still had the right to have people over, according to my lease and according to my arrangement with the landlord,” Almena added.
    ...
    “I think if you’re going to hold me responsible, then I want the fire department, police, the landlords, my kids’ schoolteachers, that had parties in my space that knew we were living there and came and hang out. And one of the schoolteacher’s husbands was a fireman, and he’s like, ‘Great space, man. This is awesome,'” Almena said....
    “I’m a father of three children,” Almena said. “I would never want this to happen, and I wish I could have been there to save your children to guide them out of that. It wasn’t a horrible place that they were in. It was an amazing place they were in with wonderful artists.”
    http://kron4.com/2017/12/05/only-on-...ve-of-hearing/

    SMDH. What chutzpah Almena has.

  9. #459
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    Witness recalls escape from Oakland warehouse during fire

    OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Aaron Marin was convinced his life was over as smoke engulfed a California warehouse in what was the country’s deadliest building fire in more than a decade.

    Marin recalled during a court hearing on Wednesday that people who were unable to escape the blaze came up a flight of stairs shaking their heads and saying, “No.”

    “I sat there and accepted the fact that it was just over for me,” he testified about the fire on Dec. 2, 2016 that killed 36 people.

    Marin was able to get out and took the stand as the first witness in a preliminary hearing for the two men charged in the blaze at the Oakland building known as the Ghost Ship.

    Prosecutors are trying to persuade Alameda County Judge Jeffrey Horner that defendants Derick Almena and Max Harris should stand trial on involuntary manslaughter charges. The hearing is expected to last several days.

    https://apnews.com/a698973da3204822b...m=APWestRegion

  10. #460
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    Ghost Ship: Survivor recalls escape from Oakland warehouse during deadly 2016 fire
    by Associated Press

    OAKLAND, Calif. — Aaron Marin was convinced his life was over as smoke engulfed a California warehouse last year in what turned out to be the country's deadliest building fire in more than a decade.

    But Marin survived and testified Wednesday at a preliminary hearing for the two men charged in the blaze at the Oakland building known as the Ghost Ship...

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news...y-2016-n827221


  11. #461
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    EuTuCroquet? is offline This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves. ~ HST
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    CA - Massive fire at Oakland warehouse party, 36 dead, 2 Dec 2016 #3 *Arrests*

    Wow. So everyone’s to blame but for him, AND he wishes he was at the blaze, er, awesome and safe communal art space, to help rescue everyone’s kids ... because he’s a dad?!!? Did I read that correctly??

    Quote Originally Posted by MsMarple View Post
    From yesterday, an interview with Derick Almena:



    http://kron4.com/2017/12/05/only-on-...ve-of-hearing/

    SMDH. What chutzpah Almena has.

  12. #462
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    EuTuCroquet? is offline This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves. ~ HST
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    Pardon the bad unintentional pun, but for a lack of better words — if Almena decides to testify at a trial, and if sounds anything like what he’s vomited to the media, he’s toast!

  13. #463
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    Quote Originally Posted by EuTuCroquet? View Post
    Wow. So everyone’s to blame but for him, AND he wishes he was at the blaze, er, awesome and safe communal art space, to help rescue everyone’s kids ... because he’s a dad?!!? Did I read that correctly??
    If this gets to trial, I'm hoping the defense will put that POS on the stand. The jury will see what kind of ~man~ he is, and it won't help his cause one iota. Let's hope his attorney(s) are as stoopid and as arrogant as Almena.
    and he wasn't even there


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  14. #464
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    Day 2 of the preliminary hearing. Court is off on Friday, so the preliminary hearing continues on Monday:

    Continuation of testimony from former tenant Jose Avalos:

    A former tenant of an Oakland warehouse says police were called to the unlicensed residence several times to help with evictions before a fire last year that killed three dozen people, and even knew the leaseholder by name.
    ...
    The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Avalos testified one officer often stopped by the warehouse to check in, asking, "Is my best friend Derick here?"
    ...
    Avalos testified Thursday that there were frequent power outages at the Ghost Ship and that residents would go to the auto body shop next door to reset the breaker whenever the power went out.

    "There was a long period of time we didn't have steady power," Avalos testified. "We had to be careful. There were times it happened day after day. Sometimes it'd be like once a week."
    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/t...-fire-51656552

    Next up, former tenant Leah Danielle Vega aka "Swan":

    Leah Danielle Vega says she lived at the Ghost Ship warehouse off and on for a year. Vega, a bartender and artist, broke down on the stand several times, weeping as she talked about the warehouse and that fatal night.
    ...
    ega called the warehouse a “stone hut” that had a hose for water and makeshift toilets. She said the showers were more like open stalls you would find at the beach.

    She said no one was in charge of the Ghost Ship saying, “It was an artist colony.”

    Vega, at one point, also became agitated saying, “I don’t know why we are even doing this.”

    She called defendant Harris a kind and gentle soul, and that she was a fan.

    Harris’ attorney, Curtis Briggs, says so far, the prosecution is not proving its case.
    http://kron4.com/2017/12/07/video-da...ing-testimony/

    Another former tenant, Leah “Swan” Vega, also began her testimony Thursday morning, voicing on several occasions that the artist collective space was not an appropriate living accommodation.

    “The building was not intended for humans. It was like a stone hut or something, to keep your head dry,” Vega said. “(There was) no business renting a place like that.”
    ...
    When asked if Almena was in charge of the warehouse, she said it was a “different type of system,” where no one was in charge, but people made collective decisions. She described Almena as a “mad dad” when some “kids” spray painted the words “Ghost Ship” on the front of the building.
    Testimony from former tenant Nicholas Bouchard, who lived in the Ghost Ship for two weeks in an RV then moved out and tried to legally get out of the lease but couldn’t:

    The fourth witness in the hearing so far was Nicholas “Nico” Bouchard, who co-signed the lease for the warehouse back in November 2013, with Almena. He said they had plans to use it for a community art space, including after-school classes for children. When he called a meeting to discuss making it legitimate, with a sprinkler system, electric and plumbing in the building, he said Almena “scoffed” at the idea and laughed.
    http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/12/0...minal-hearing/

    So while some former tenants are supporting Almena and Harris and pointing fingers at LE who they say were aware of the conditions at the Ghost Ship but did not investigate further or take action, it's clear that Alamena ignored concerns when he was asked about bringing the space up to code and making it a safe place.

    That's nothing new as it's been reported in msm before but it concerns me that the defense is painting a picture of Almena and Harris as creative types who were trying to build some sort of Shangri-la for artists while ignoring the financial motivation. Both Almena and Harris profited from the tenants and from renting out the space for events even though neither ever bothered to make the Ghost Ship safe for the tenants and guests.

    IOW, neither wished to use their profits to upgrade the Ghost Ship. It was all about the money IMO.

  15. #465
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    up for today:

    Monday, December 11th:
    *Prelim Hearing continues @ 8:45am PT (Day 3) - CA - Ghost Ship Warehouse Fire in Oakland on Dec. 2, 2016 killing 36 people - Derick Ion Almena (47), and Max Harris (27), charged with 36 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter; entered their not guilty pleas. They remain in custody at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on $750,000 bond and face up to 39 years in prison each if convicted. Prelim hearing could last 5 days. 11/20 Prelim hearing was postponed to Dec. 4th; & postponed again to Dec. 6th. 1st day of prelim (12/6) 2 witnesses testified; 2nd day witnesses. 2nd Day (12/7) 2 more witnesses. Court DARK on Friday.

    ~~Life isn't about waiting for the storms to pass... It's about learning to dance in the rain!~~
    ~~We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience!~~
    ~~Veni, Vidi, Velcro! I came, I saw, I stuck around!~~

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