The Last one: Tears in warehouse fire hearing concludes for the day

OAKLAND, California. – The Latest on the sentencing of two men convicted in a Northern California warehouse fire that killed 36 persons (all times are local):

4:45 pm

The first two days of the testimony of the relatives of the 36 people who died in Oakland warehouse fire has closed.

Judge James Cramer stopped the proceedings Thursday and said that the conviction will be Friday again for the two men who accepted plea offers on 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Cramer is expected to formally sentence 48-year-old Almena and the 28-year-old Harris on Friday.

The plea deals call for Almena, who rented the warehouse, you will receive a nine-year prison sentence, and Harris, who receive rent and the planned concerts, for a term of six years.

Some of the family members said they believe the sentences are too severe, and appealed to the judge to reconsider.

The lawyers for the two men, Tony Serra and Curtis Briggs, left court without speaking to journalists. The prosecutors also declined to comment.


3:30 pm

The conviction of two men who pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter on an Oakland warehouse fire that 36 people were killed has tense and deeply emotional, while the relatives of the victims testified.

Judge James Cramer on Thursday stopped Colleen Dolan of the view of a coroner’s photograph of the charred body of her 33-year-old daughter, Chelsea Dolan.

Cramer politely interrupted Dolan is angry testimony, and softly said he had seen the photo. Dolan met after telling the court that she “had to kiss, that burned body goodbye.”

Also he interrupted a lawyer reading a letter from the principal Sami Long Koppelman, whose 34-year-old son, Edmond William Lapine II, was another victim of the 2016 fire.

Attorney Paul Matiasic asked rhetorically if the judge knew the pain of losing a son or daughter. Cramer replied: “I have,” and many of the family responded with an audible breathing.


11:15 pm

Crying relatives of three people killed in a Northern California warehouse fire are upset with a plea deal struck between prosecutors and the two suspects are each charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Four family members testified Thursday proposed prison sentences for the two defendants are to short.

Derick Almena pleaded no contest to the charges in exchange for a prison term of nine years. Max Harris agreed to plead no contest in exchange for a term of six years.

Almena rented the warehouse and illegally converted into a residential space and entertainment venue. Almena hired Harris to help collect rent, and schedule concerts.

Following In the footsteps of the testimony of other family members, Cyrus Coda says he feels the sentences were too severe, and that other people and the government should also be held responsible, including the warehouse of the owner.


10:30 pm

Relatives of the 36 people killed in a warehouse fire in Northern California testify during the sentencing of two men convicted in their deaths.

Susan Slocumb, the 32-year-old daughter, Donna Kellogg, was killed in the warehouse during an illegal concert in 2016.

Slocumb was the first relative to testify Thursday. She says Derick Almena and Max Harris should be given longer sentences than a plea deal calls for.

In a plea bargain with the Alameda County district attorney’s office, Almena agreed to a prison term of nine years, and Harris agreed six years.

Slocum said the suspects “went easy in the plea deal.”

Judge James Cramer opened the session by admonishing everyone to remain calm, said that he expected that the “harrowing.”


12 hours

Two men who pleaded no contest to 36 charges of involuntary manslaughter will be the face of the families of those who died in a fire in an illegally converted Northern California warehouse.

Derick Almena and Max Harris will appear in an Oakland courtroom Thursday.

Family members of the victims are expected to testify about their losses before the two were sentenced on Friday.

Prosecutors say Almena, rented the warehouse, he called the Ghost Ship and illegally converted into a residence and entertainment venue for a blaze tore through it during an illegal concert in 2016. Almena hired Harris to help collect rent, and schedule concerts.


This story has been corrected to show that Judge Cramer’s last name was misspelled.

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