Ghost Ship verdict: Harris acquitted, jury deadlocked on Almena

New trial for Almena ordered for October 4; "The system failed" says victim's husband.

After three long years and almost too much pressure to bear for victims’ families, a verdict has been rendered on responsibility for the Ghost Ship fire that took 36 lives. At the Oakland courthouse today, Ghost Ship warehouse “second in command” Max Harris was found not guilty of 36 charges of manslaughter. For warehouse manager Derrick Almena, however, the jury was deadlocked 10-2—a second trial will start on October 4.

Reaction from victims’ friends and family, as well as the nightlife community, was immediate. Andy Kershaw, whose wife Amanda Allen died in the fire, told 48 Hills:

“We can’t be be surprised that a system which failed countless times to stop these two from building and running this ship also failed to get a conviction. We finally put the system and landlords on trial in the Civil Case next year.

“I urge our community to keep their heads up and know that this isn’t the end!” Kershaw said.

According to Chronicle reporter Matthias Gafni, who was at the courthouse, “Defense team says Max Harris could be released from custody as early as today; they are working to get him out ASAP.”

Below is our previous coverage:

In the Ghost Ship aftermath

The Ghost Ship fire, one year later