Derick Almena and Max Harris, the defendants in the Ghost Ship fire have pled no contest to 36 counts of manslaughter as a result of the death of 36 people in the horrifying Ghost Ship fire ion December 2, 2016. The pair will each receive less than 10 years in prison.
Derick Almena, one of the founders of the collective will serve nine years in prison and three years on supervised release and Max Harris, his second-in-command, will serve six years in prison and four years of supervised release according to the New York Times. Almena and Harris could get out sooner if released on good behavior.
If the case had gone to trial, both men could have faced 35 years.
Autrey James, an Alameda County deputy district attorney spoke emotionally in a prepared statement via the East Bay Times, “They took responsibility for the crime of involuntary manslaughter, which means they acted negligently in running that building known as the Ghost Ship on Dec. 2, 2016, and in the months and years leading up to that.”
Families of the victims were not satisfied with the results of the plea, hoping that the Ghost Ship operators would get more time.
“That’s 36 lives, you know,” said David Gregory, the father of a 20-year-old victim, Michela Gregory, according to The Associated Press. “We wanted fair justice, and we didn’t get it.”
The families are still hoping to get some more justice through civil cases against warehouse owner Chor Ng and city officials, though that case won’t start until October 2019.