Ghost Ship Trial: Jury resumes deliberations - but for how long?

ByLeslie Brinkley KGO logo
Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Ghost Ship jury resumes deliberations - but for how long?
After a 12-day hiatus, the Ghost Ship jury, with three new jurors, is back in deliberations.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- After a 12-day hiatus, the Ghost Ship jury, with three new jurors, is back in deliberations. There are serious questions about how much deliberating they'll actually do in the month of September.

This is only the fourth day of deliberations with this reconstituted jury after three were dismissed for misconduct last month. As one defense attorney put it, will they, or can they, recall testimony from May?

RELATED: Ghost Ship defense team still hopes for verdict

The five men and seven women jury panel trooped back into the courtroom for 15 minutes Tuesday morning after the end of their summer break.

Defense attorney Tony Serra noted, "They seem quiet, they seem sullen, they seem introspective in the short period of time they were in court. They are participating in the greatest portion of deliberations right now. They are voting right now."

Such is the guess of defendant Derick Almena's attorney. But there's no telling how close they really are to a decision. Derick Almena and Max Harris each face 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the 36 lives that were lost in the December 2016 Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland.

RELATED: More juror problems in case over deadly Oakland fire

With only one alternate juror left, there is a looming problem of vacations.

The judge has said one juror has indicated they have a vacation planned from September 9-13, with another juror indicating they're unavailable from September 19 until October 5.

If the judge goes along with those scheduling conflicts, that would only leave six days of deliberation in the entire month of September.

TIMELINE: How the investigation into the deadly Ghost Ship fire unfolded

Defense attorney Tyler Smith said, "She hasn't indicated one way or another if the jurors will be allowed to take those vacations. I think it's a wait-and-see approach."

Deliberations resume Wednesday morning.

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