OAKLAND (KRON) – Defendant Max Harris acted as the creative director of the Ghost Ship. But during the trial, Harris downplayed his role at the Oakland warehouse.
KRON4’s Michelle Kingston has been closely following the case and shows us how Harris’ demeanor has been before and during the trial.
Harris is charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter for a fire that took the lives of 36 people on December 2, 2016.
The warehouse, dubbed the Ghost Ship, was a live-work space for artists and musicians, and Harris, who had previously been homeless, lived alongside 20 other people in the Fruitvale neighborhood.
While Harris claims he had no real authority, the defendant collected rent, mitigated personal conflicts and directed the artistic vision of the warehouse along with Derick Almena, who is also on trial for the same charges.
Since his arrest in 2017, Harris has been kept in solitary confinement and has had an overall “tough time”at Santa Rita jail.
The described soft spoken Harris was stamping hands at the entrance of the warehouse, which was hosting an electronic music party, on the night of the fire. A situation he described as terrifying and surreal.
While critics and family members acknowledge that Harris did not want this to happen, they believe he should be held accountable.
Supporters believe that Harris is a scapegoat to the root of larger problems, such as inspections.