The leaseholder of an Oakland, California warehouse where 36 people died in a fire during a 2016 rave pleaded guilty to the deaths on Friday — and will likely serve no more time behind bars.
Derick Almena, 50, appeared virtually in court and pleaded guilty to 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter in exchange for a 12-year sentence.
Almena avoided another trial by pleading guilty as scheduled. His first trial ended in a hung jury.
He has been out on bail and won’t likely be returning to jail because of good behavior during the three years he was behind bars.
Almena’s sentencing is scheduled for March 8.
Prosecutors charged that Almena was negligent when he illegally converted the two-story warehouse into a residence and event space for artists dubbed the “Ghost Ship.”
The blaze broke out on Dec. 2, 2016 during an electronic dance party, trapping revelers on the second floor.
Furniture, extension cords and other flammable materials were packed inside the building. There were also no smoke detectors or sprinklers, according to prosecutors.
Max Harris, the building’s property manager, was found not guilty in 2019.
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