OAKLAND (KRON) — Megan Thierry sat on the jury of the Ghost Ship Trial from Day 1, listening to defense attorneys and prosecutors, testimony from witnesses and the defendants Max Harris and Derick Almena — both charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the deaths of 36 people in a warehouse fire in Oakland in 2016.
“I said no matter how long it takes, no matter how painful it is, to listen to testimony over or sit in this room and argue back and forth over the same thing and beat a dead horse for lack of a better term we have to do it,” Thierry said. “We are the only 12 who can.”
After 10 days of deliberating on the jury, Thierry and two other jurors were dismissed by Judge Trina Thompson.
“I decided to be truthful with the judge. I’m not going down for doing my civic duty and someone else breaking the rules,” she said.
Thierry says one of the three jurors released told the other jurors she had spoken to a friend of hers who was a firefighter about fire and building codes, despite knowing you are not to talk to anyone about the case.
The other one sent a text to Thierry encouraging her to change her position on Harris from guilty to not guilty.
Thierry says she was excused for receiving that text and not reporting it.
“I looked down and said quite a few choice cuss words because I knew this was it, I was being released and I was also terrified Max Harris would be acquitted,” Thierry said.
That is what happened.
“After the verdict was read, I didn’t want to cry, but I was shocked and I was mad and I was disappointed,” she said.
Harris was released from jail, now a free man.
The jury was hung on Almena.
He returns back to court next month.
Thierry says she’ll be watching closely.
“Had the fire never happened, he probably would still be doing the same thing and that’s what’s scary,” Thierry said.