Ghost Ship fire: Man responsible for 2016 Oakland tragedy to have probation violation hearing

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Friday, September 16, 2022
Ghost Ship fire: Master tenant Derick Almena to have probation hearing
Derick Almena, the man responsible for Oakland's 2016 Ghost Ship fire tragedy, has a hearing on a possible probation violation, he says.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- There is new development Thursday in Oakland's Ghost Ship fire that killed 36 people in December 2016. The Alameda County prosecutor says the man responsible for that tragedy violated his probation and wants to send him back to prison. But the I-Team's Dan Noyes has been in contact with Derick Almena, his wife and his attorney, and they tell a different story.

Almena pleaded "no contest" to involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of 36 people who died at a dance party he organized in his artists' collective in Oakland, known as the Ghost Ship. He served years in prison, and now, the Alameda County District Attorney filed a petition that would send Almena back to jail based on PC 30305(A) (1), which "makes it a crime" for a person on probation "to own, possess, or have in your custody any ammunition."

In this case, a single .38 caliber round.

RELATED: Ghost Ship fire 2016: Master tenant Derick Almena could return to jail for violating probation

Tony Serra is Almena's attorney.

Dan Noyes: "They didn't find a gun?"

Tony Serra: "That's correct."

Dan Noyes: "They found one old bullet."

Tony Serra: "Yes."

Almena's wife, Micah Allison, told Dan Noyes by phone Thursday that probation officers found the bullet on an altar she erected in their Ukiah home. She placed it next to the Buddha, and other keepsakes, to honor those who have died from gun violence.

RELATED: Ghost Ship Fire: Owners of Oakland warehouse to pay $12M to victims' families

The court papers also say that the Mendocino County Probation Department found a machete and ten archery bows with approximately 50 arrows.

Allison explained she uses the gardening machete to cut back the brush behind her house, and that both she and Derick were once archery instructors; they enjoy shooting targets with their kids. They don't hunt.

Serra compares Almena having the archery bows to playing baseball. "He was the manager of a baseball team and his kids were playing. Everyone's having a good time, but he had bats. 'But I just had it for sport. I wasn't going to hit anyone.' 'That's a dangerous weapon. You're an ex-felon with a dangerous weapon! You got your baseball bats!' Well, it's absurd as that."

Almena texted ABC7 News Thursday: "I would never knowingly have any weapons of harm or destruction in my home, especially after what happened."

The District Attorney's Office declined to comment because this is a pending case. The hearing is Friday morning.

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