Plea negotiations for Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire drawing to a close

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- A spokesperson for Tony Serra, Ghost Ship founder Derick Almena's attorney, confirms negotiations continued Monday for a plea deal for the fire that killed 36 people. Almena and co-defendant Max Harris, Ghost Ship creative director, are each charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter and face 39 years in prison if convicted.

The I-Team reported 10 days ago that Almena turned down a plea offer from prosecutors that would have given him an 18-year prison sentence, with possible parole in 10.

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Now, it looks as though both Almena and Harris may receive even less time.

Proposals ABC7 News investigative reporter Dan Noyes heard over the weekend included eight years for Almena and three to six years for Harris - or eight years for each man.

Today, the Mercury News cited an email from the District Attorney's Office to victims' families saying Almena may receive nine years and Harris six years. The defendants would be allowed to serve their sentences in local jail, not state prison, according to the paper.

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It's a difficult time for the victims' families, and it is not yet clear whether they would support a plea deal or whether they'll pressure prosecutors to go for tougher sentences.

In a text to Noyes on Monday, Almena's wife, Micah Allison, wrote, "Until tomorrow, nothing is set in stone."

That's when Almena and Harris are due back in Alameda Superior Court to finalize a plea deal.

Click here for full coverage on the investigation into Oakland's deadly Ghost Ship Fire.
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