Ghost Ship Trial: Witness says Almena laughed at making improvements to warehouse

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- A witness for the prosecution in the Ghost Ship trial, Katleen Bouchard, made no secret of her dislike for master tenant Derick Almena.

Bouchard's son, Nicolas, was a co-signer on the lease for the warehouse. He had also lived for a time with Almena and his family in both Santa Cruz and Oakland.

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On the stand, Katleen Bouchard told jurors that, on several occasions, "My son would call me hysterically crying and said 'Mom, please come get me.'"

But Bouchard said, each time, Almena would talk Nico into staying with him.

Defense attorneys tried to attack Bouchard's credibility.

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After Nico co-signed the lease for the Ghost Ship in late 2013, Katleen Bouchard said she met with Almena to try to encourage him to get proper permits for improving the structure, but that just Almena laughed at her and walked out of the meeting.

Earlier, a former Ghost Ship tenant and fire survivor, Carmen Brito, called the Ghost Ship "the most beautiful place" she'd ever lived.

And -- despite filing a civil lawsuit against the warehouse owner and the city of Oakland -- Brito said she made sure to exclude Almena and co-defendant Max Harris in that lawsuit.

RELATED: Survivor of Oakland Ghost Ship fire shares emotional testimony

See more stories and videos related to the Ghost Ship fire case.
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