Ghost Ship Trial: Former tenant says she felt safe at warehouse

Bay Area
Ghost Ship Trial: Mother of former tenant testifies

ALAMEDA COUNTY (KRON) — A woman who survived the deadly fire at the Ghost Ship warehouse was back on the witness stand for the prosecution Tuesday as the fourth week of testimony got underway.

Former Ghost Ship resident Carmen Brito resumed her testimony at the Alameda County Superior Court house in Oakland.

Brito managed to get out of the burning building that took the lives of 36 party goers back in December of 2016.

During cross-examination, she told the court that she once worked as an English teacher and has traveled to China and Thailand teaching elementary school students for four years prior to moving into the Ghost Ship.

When asked her first impression of the warehouse, she said it was the most beautiful place that she had ever lived.

She testified that she lived in the warehouse for 11 months and felt safe there because the Oakland Fire Department was around the corner, Oakland Police drove by every day and that she even saw officers talking to Ghost Ship residents in the doorway of the warehouse.

She told the court that she felt like they were doing everything out in the open and no one seemed alarmed by that.

“The witness that’s called for the prosecution turns out to be a witness for you client,” attorney Tyler Smith said. “That is who Carmen was.”

On redirect examination when she was asked if she knew why the police were there and what they were discussing with Ghost Ship tenants, she told the court ‘no.’

The prosecutor also asked if she was aware that on several occasions that master tenant Derick Almena is on video telling Oakland Police that no one lived in the warehouse, again she simply replied ‘no.’

“When the D.A. had the opportunity to redirect her personality changed completely, she kind of shut down, giving one worded answers and she was very cold. That’s what you would call a hostile witness,” Smith explains.

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