Ghost Ship Trial: Week 1 of jury’s deliberation ends without verdict

Ghost Ship

OAKLAND (KRON) — The fifth day and first full week of the jury’s deliberation in the Ghost Ship trial is over and jurors have yet to reach a verdict.

Jurors now have three days off until Monday when deliberation resumes.

Co-defendants Derick Almena and Max Harris each face 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection to the deadly warehouse fire in 2016 that took the lives of three dozen.

According to pre-trial instructions, in order for the jury to find the defendants guilty, prosecutors must prove three things — that the defendants committed a crime, the crime was committed with criminal negligence and the defendants’ acts caused the death of another person.

In this case, the 36 victims died during a concert at the Ghost Ship on Dec. 2, 2016.

Criminal negligence involves more than ordinary carelessness, inattention or mistake in judgment.

“It’s a state of mind crime,” said Tony Serra, attorney for Almena.

According to the jury instructions, a person acts with criminal negligence when he or she acts in a reckless way that creates a high risk of death or great bodily injury or a reasonable person would have known that acting in that way would create such a risk. 

In other words, the jury would have to find that the two defendants should have known better than to host an event inside of a building that the prosecution says gave people no notice of a fire, no time to escape, no ability to exit.

“So your state of mind what have to be what they call utterly indifference to the probable causes of your actions for human life,” Serra said. “If there are two reasonable interpretations. If there is two reasonable interpretations, the law says you must adopt the one that points to innocence.”

If found guilty, both men could face up to 39 years in prison.

Deliberation continues Monday.

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