A jury acquitted the master tenant and leaseholder of a warehouse that became the epicenter of one of California’s most-deadliest structure fires.
Derick Almena, 49, was found not guilty on 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the December 2016 blaze at the Ghost Ship Warehouse in Oakland.
The jury hung on similar charges against his co-defendant, 29-year-old warehouse leaseholder Max Harris, who faces the possibility of a re-trial. The judge overseeing the case declared a mistrial for Harris.
Mark wasn’t involved in the case, but spoke with FOX40 News following the jury’s verdict to offer his legal expertise.
“I was surprised by the outcome,” Mark said, noting that images presented at trial may have weighed heavier on their deliberations.
At the end of a trial, jurors are given a set of instructions by the judge before they enter into deliberations, the outcome of which usually results in a verdict.
“They generally try to do what they consider to be the right thing, regardless of what instructions they get, regardless of how the attorneys argued…” Mark said.
Jurors will be heavily questioned by both sides if Harris is to be re-tried.
Watch the full video from FOX40 News below: