Ghost Ship Trial: ATF agent counters defense witness testimony


OAKLAND (KRON) — Three rebuttal witnesses were called to the stand Monday as testimony in the Ghost Ship trial begins to wind down at the Alameda Superior Courthouse in Oakland

An Oakland police officer took the stand to answer questions regarding the 2014 couch burning incident outside the Ghost Ship. 

In the officer’s chest camera video, the jury heard Derick Almena saying it is amazing the fire did not go inside and that it would have been horrible. 

Next was ATF Agent Whitney Hameth who told the court that she took part in a pair of interviews of Ghost Ship resident Darold Leite. 

As a witness for the defense, Leite testified that he heard a fight, then saw men running away from the Ghost Ship as the fire began to burn. 

However the ATF agent testified Leite never mentioned that information when he was interviewed the day after the fire

“I’m not going to worry about that. Yes of course anything that impeaches credibility is painful for me but I don’t think one, I don’t think he was impeached adequately and two, I don’t think in the bigger picture that it’s that meaningful,” Almena’s attorney, Tony Serra, said. 

For family members seated in the courtroom the agony of enduring another day testimony continues

 “It’s very hard for somebody who has lost their child, burned alive and they knew they know that they were burning alive. They were texting their parents, they were going to die,” said Ivania Chavrria, the mother of Chase Nex Iuguolo, who died in the Ghost Ship Fire. “It’s very extremely hard but our children are not here to have justice for themselves and their friends.”

An investigator with the DA was also called to the stand. 

He was questioned about 2017 voluntary interview of co-defendant Max Harris.

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