OAKLAND, Calif. - One of the two men arrested in connection with the deadly Ghost Ship fire in Oakland was supposed to be in court on Thursday. But Derick Almena's attorney asked for a delay.
There were family members of some of the victims in court, some wearing buttons with their loved ones' pictures. They did not want to comment immediately after the hearing.
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No cameras were allowed in the Oakland courtroom, but ABC7 News cameras were there earlier this week when Almena appeared in a Lake County courtroom right after his arrest.
He did not enter a plea on Thursday - that was postponed. He is charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the 36 people who died when the Ghost Ship warehouse caught fire during a concert in December.
City officials say Almena created a fire trap, allowing too many people to live there and to attend the concert without proper fire escapes and legal electrical wiring.
His attorney made a statement after Thursday's hearing. "This case is one of the most profound tragedies to strike the Bay Area in living memory. Despite the strong emotions, we do not feel that the public good will be served by prosecuting our client. This creates a distraction so that the local government does not have to address the fundamental issues of housing inequality and fire safety that will continue to be a problem in this community. They have not addressed their failings," attorney Jeffrey Krasnoff said.
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Almena's attorney did not say why he wanted to postpone the plea by 30 days, only that he wanted to link up court dates with Almena's co-defendant Max Harris, who is set to be transported from Los Angeles on Thursday.
The judge set a date for both of them to appear together next week.
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