Offbeat Judge set to sentence men in deadly Oakland warehouse fire

11:06  10 august  2018
11:06  10 august  2018 Source:   msn.com

California judge rejects plea deal in Oakland warehouse fire

  California judge rejects plea deal in Oakland warehouse fire <p>Two men accused of involuntary manslaughter in a California warehouse fire that killed 36 people were due back in court on Friday to set a possible trial date after a judge rejected their plea deal.</p>Families whose loved ones died in the Dec. 2, 2016 blaze in Oakland demanded a criminal trial for Derick Almena and Max Harris so they could learn more about how the tragedy unfolded, the Alameda County District Attorney's Office said. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

On December 2, 2016, at approximately 11:20 p.m. PST, a fire broke out in a warehouse , known as Ghost Ship, that had been converted into an artist collective, including dwelling units

A judge will sentence them at a later date. Lawyers: Plea deal reached in deadly Oakland warehouse fire . Witness recalls terrifying escape from Oakland warehouse during fire .

FILE- This combination of file June 2017 booking photos released by the Alameda County Sheriff's Office shows Max Harris, left, and Derick Almena, at Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County, Calif. The two men, who accepted a deal in exchange for each pleading no contest to 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter in a California warehouse fire, will likely be released from prison after serving just half their sentences. A judge on Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, is expected to sentence Almena to nine years in prison and Harris to six years, even though relatives of victims of the 2016 blaze in Oakland slammed the proposed sentences as too lenient. (Alameda County Sheriff's Office via AP, File) © The Associated Press FILE- This combination of file June 2017 booking photos released by the Alameda County Sheriff's Office shows Max Harris, left, and Derick Almena, at Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County, Calif. The two men, who accepted a deal in exchange for each pleading no contest to 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter in a California warehouse fire, will likely be released from prison after serving just half their sentences. A judge on Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, is expected to sentence Almena to nine years in prison and Harris to six years, even though relatives of victims of the 2016 blaze in Oakland slammed the proposed sentences as too lenient. (Alameda County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

OAKLAND, Calif. — Two men who accepted a deal in exchange for each pleading no contest to 36 charges of involuntary manslaughter in connection with a California warehouse fire will likely be released from prison after serving just half their sentences.

No new plea deals in 'Ghost Ship' warehouse fire case, DA says

  No new plea deals in 'Ghost Ship' warehouse fire case, DA says A Northern California district attorney has told a judge that she will no longer consider plea deals for two men charged in a fire at a dilapidated Oakland warehouse that killed 36 people in December 2016. In a letter obtained by The Associated Press, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley asked the judge to scheduled a trial date for Derick Almena and Max Harris. Both men are scheduled to return to court Friday.

The men , Derick Almena and Max Harris, are expected to be sentenced to several years in prison for involuntary manslaughter. 2 Men Charged With Manslaughter in Deadly Oakland Fire . June 5, 2017. Image. Death Toll in Oakland Warehouse Fire Rises to 36 as Search Continues.

Two men charged in a California warehouse fire that killed 36 people agreed to a plea deal Almena could be sentenced to nine years in prison and Harris could face a six-year term when a judge sentences them Death toll from Oakland fire akin to 'a 3rd-world country,' Utah fire official says.

It's typical for California prison inmates who keep a good disciplinary record to be released after serving half their terms.

Judge James Cramer on Friday is expected to sentence 48-year-old Derick Almena to nine years in prison and 28-year-old Max Harris to six years, even though relatives of victims of the 2016 blaze in Oakland have slammed the proposed sentences as too lenient.

Tearful, grieving relatives testified Thursday about their losses and asked Cramer to reject the deal, but he gave no indication that he would comply with the request.

A prosecutor said the two men had turned the warehouse into a residential "death trap" by cluttering it with highly flammable knick-knacks, blocking the building's few exits and failing to make adequate safety precautions before inviting the public inside.

Ghost Ship trial expected to begin in 2019, lawyers say

  Ghost Ship trial expected to begin in 2019, lawyers say A jury trial in the Ghost Ship fire case probably will not begin until 2019, attorneys for the two defendants said following a brief hearing Friday in Oakland.&nbsp;The need to arrange a trial timeline came after Alameda County prosecutors told a judge and defense lawyers this week that they will no longer negotiate any plea agreements.

Two men charged in a California warehouse fire that killed 36 people agreed to a plea deal Almena could be sentenced to nine years in prison and Harris could face a six-year term when a judge Harris also lived in the warehouse and escaped the fire unharmed. The city of Oakland and the

«» Oakland Ghost Ship Fire Defendants Agree to Plea Deal. Two men accepted plea bargains with prison time Tuesday after each was charged with dozens of counts of involuntary manslaughter in an Oakland warehouse fire that killed A judge is scheduled to sentence them on August 9 and 10.

Speakers at the hearing also criticized the city over the devastating fire.

"The city of Oakland should be held accountable" for failing to inspect and shut down the warehouse, Colleen Dolan said as she showed a photo of her smiling 33-year-old daughter, Chelsea Dolan, that had been taken a few weeks before her death.

Dolan also tried to display a coroner's photo of her daughter's charred body, but Cramer gently interrupted her and said he had previously seen it.

"I had to kiss that burned body goodbye," Dolan said, agreeing to comply. "I am angry and bereft."

Moments later, Cramer politely interrupted Paul Matiasic, an attorney reading a statement by Sami Long Koppelman, whose 34-year-old son, Edmond William Lapine, was killed.

Mataiasic asked the judge rhetorically if he had ever lost a child.

"Yes, I have," Cramer said with a sad smile. "Just so you know."

Many people in the courtroom gasped. The judge did not elaborate.

Arson suspect in California Holy Fire ordered to have mental evaluation after outbursts in court

  Arson suspect in California Holy Fire ordered to have mental evaluation after outbursts in court Judge Kimberly Menninger ordered a mental evaluation for Forrest Gordon Clark after deciding to suspend criminal proceedings. Judge Kimberly Menninger ordered the evaluation after the arraignment for Forrest Gordon Clark was suspended twice due to him having several outbursts.

OAKLAND , Calif. The Associated Press. Published July 3, 2018 Updated July 3, 2018. Two men charged in a California warehouse fire that killed 36 people agreed Almena could be sentenced to nine years in prison and Harris could face a six-year term when a judge sentences them next month.

OAKLAND , Calif. – Two men charged in a California warehouse fire that killed 36 people agreed to a plea deal Tuesday during an emotional hearing where the judge read Almena could be sentenced to nine years in prison and Harris could face a six-year term when a judge sentences them next month.

Cyrus Hoda, the brother of victim Sarah Hoda, 30, said the plea bargain was a "sweetheart deal" and labeled Almena and Harris as "culture vultures" trying to become San Francisco Bay Area arts players by luring people to a dangerous place to live and party.

Almena's wife and three children also lived in the warehouse but were staying in a nearby hotel the night of the fire. His wife, Micah Allison, and one of their daughters sat quietly in court alongside the grieving families.

Dressed in jail garb, Almena looked unemotionally at the relatives as they testified, while Harris stared at the judge, who approved the plea deal last month.

Cramer told relatives of victims to try to keep their emotions in check during the testimony, which he said would be "a heart-wrenching hearing as befits the enormous loss in this case."

Almena and Harris could have faced life in prison if convicted at a trial. They already have spent a year behind bars.

Investigators from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said they were unable to determine a cause of the blaze.

Victims' relatives allege in lawsuits that the Oakland Fire Department failed to inspect the warehouse annually as required and that inspectors would have discovered the illegal conversions.

Alex Katz, a spokesman for the city attorney, declined to comment.

The lawsuits also claim Pacific Gas & Electric Co. failed to properly monitor, inspect and repair electrical equipment that provided power to the warehouse.

PG&E said in a statement that it cooperated with the investigation and that a review of its records found no electrical problems at the building in the 10 years before the fire.

Warehouse owner Chor Ng, who has not been charged, did not return a phone message seeking comment.

Bodies of 70 killed in deadly Greek wildfires identified .
<p>Forensic experts continue working to identify more remains recovered from the area.</p>The coast guard said Tuesday it had recovered the body of a woman from the sea in the Saronic Gulf south of Athens, but tests were needed to determine whether it was related to the July 23 blaze that devastated a seaside resort northeast of Athens.

Source: http://us.pressfrom.com/news/offbeat/-175264-judge-set-to-sentence-men-in-deadly-oakland-warehouse-fire/

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