Ghost Ship Fire victim's family heartbroken over plea deal

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The two defendants in the Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire case have struck plea deals, thus avoiding a trial scheduled to start July 16. Derick Almena will be sentenced to nine years and Max Harris will get six years. (KGO-TV)

David Gregory is heartbroken and dissatisfied with the outcome of the Ghost Ship Fire plea hearing. His daughter, Michela, and her longtime boyfriend were two of 36 people killed in the deadly blaze.

The two men who ran the warehouse turned living space, turned party venue, struck a deal with the district attorney.

Ghost Ship master tenant Derick Almena got 9 years but will likely serve three and a half, while artist collective creative director Max Harris got six but should be out in less than two years.

RELATED: Oakland Ghost Ship fire defendants reach plea deal, will avoid trial

The grieving father said, "Three, four, or two years with time served, but we just wanted some justice, some fair justice."

Defense attorneys insist that justice has been served and their clients are also hurting.

Brian Getz represented Almena while Tyler Smith defended Max Harris.

"He accepts responsibility for what he did and feels very badly about what happened," said Getz.

"Max has been and will always be paying for what happened," Smith added.

PHOTOS: Sketches from inside courtroom when Ghost Ship fire plea deal reached


On December 2, 2016, a fire broke out during a party on the building's second floor.

There were no fire extinguishers and the only escape route was down a narrow, makeshift wooden staircase.

Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Autrey James says the men, "acted negligently in running that building known as the Ghost Ship."

If the case had gone to trial and Almena and Harris had lost, they could have spent the rest of their lives in prison.

Meantime, there has always been a call for action from the City of Oakland. At the time of the Ghost Ship fire, there were eight fire inspectors on staff. By the end of this year, there will be 20.

For more stories, photos, and video on the Ghost Ship Fire, visit this page.
Related Topics:
ghost ship firecourtcourt casejailsentencingdeadly firefirefire deathmanslaughterfirefightersalameda countyOaklandSan Francisco
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