Ghost Ship Trial: Derick Almena's wife takes the stand

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The wife of one of the defendants in the Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse trial took the stand on Tuesday.

"She cried. She cried on the stand," said defense attorney Tony Serra, who claims he got exactly what he wanted the jury to see when Micah Allison took the stand.

Allison broke down and cried when a giant photo of her family was shown. She also looked lovingly at her husband, Ghost Ship founder Derick Almena.

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"She's on really to humanize the defense," explained Serra. "She has sensitivity. She has artistic talent. She embodies the whole theme and vision of Ghost Ship."

Allison testified she and Almena created the Ghost Ship in late 2013 to be a place for artists and also as a space for the couple to store the many artifacts they had collected from places like Bali and India. Almost immediately, the second floor of the warehouse also became their home.

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"When I saw the warehouse and all the possibilities that were there, I fell in love with it," Allison told the jury.

She also said she never felt unsafe, that the front stairs were "unconventional" but also "sturdy" and that she often saw police officers, firefighters and child protective services inside the Ghost Ship.

Serra told reporters Allison and Almena both feel responsible for what happened the night of December 2, 2016, when 36 people died inside the warehouse. All but one were on the second floor.

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"It's moral. It's not criminal responsibility," said Serra. "He's going to live with the fact that his vision killed people, that in retrospect it was a firetrap."

Walker Johnson, an Oakland man who visited the warehouse for a 2014 concert, said he remembered the Ghost Ship as "crowded" with stuff, with narrow hallways and a front stairs that was like "climbing up to a pirate ship."

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