Bail lowered for main defendant in Ghost Ship fire, attorneys still displeased

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One of the men charged in Oakland's deadly Ghost Ship fire had his bail reduced Friday, but his attorneys say he's still not happy. (KGO-TV)

Bail has been lowered for the main defendant in the deadly Ghost Ship Fire but his attorneys are still upset.

RELATED: Bail reduced for man charged in Oakland Ghost Ship Fire

Derick Almena asked that his $1 million bail be set aside and he be released on his on recognizance.

Almena's wife, Micah Allison, and his supporters were on hand for Friday's bail hearing. They didn't speak to reporters.

But after the hearing, his attorneys did and they were not happy.

"From our perspective that's outrageous," said Tony Serra, Almena's defense attorney. "He's not a flight risk at any level."

Almena was being held on bail in connection with last December's Ghost Ship Fire, the blaze that tore through and Oakland warehouse turned artist's collective. Thirty-six people died. Almena asked to be released, instead, the judge lowered the bail to $750,000, the same as his co-defendant Max Harris.

PHOTOS: Before and after pictures of Oakland Ghost Ship fire

"We feel the bail issue became ultimately a pre-conviction punishment. We feel very frustrated and angry," Serra told ABC7 News.

Defense attorneys argued that Almena stayed in contact with police in the six months before charges were filed and that he would also agree to GPS monitoring.

But the judge wasn't moved. Neither was the attorney representing victim's families in a civil suit. "We are very pleased. They will not be coming home to their families," said Mary Alexander. "These young people who lost their lives will never be coming home to see their families."

Attorneys for Almena and Harris gave us a glimpse into their strategy Friday. They plan to accuse PG&E, fire officials, building inspectors, and the property owner of negligence.

"The city and county have led to these deaths and by prosecuting them they are preventing them from testifying in a plaintiff's lawsuit, which could be beneficial to the families," said defense attorney Curtis Briggs.

Almena and Harris will be back in court Sept. 13 to enter a plea.
Click here for full coverage on the investigation into Oakland's deadly Ghost Ship Fire.

Related Topics:
building firefire deathfiredeadly fireinvestigationbuilding code violationinvestigationsghost ship firecourtcourt caseOakland
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