Man convicted in deadly Ghost Ship fire may go back to prison

The main tenant of Ghost Ship Warehouse, an Oakland artist collective where 36 people died in a fire in 2016, could return to prison after allegedly violating the terms of his parole, officials said this week.

A search this month of Derick Almena’s home in Ukiah, Calif., found a bow and arrow, a machete and a cartridge of ammunition, according to Alameda County Attorneys. Under the terms of his probation, he may not possess deadly weapons.

The discovery prompted prosecutors to ask a judge to lift Almena’s mandatory surveillance. If this request is granted, he could be returned to prison.

Almena, 51, was sentenced to 12 years in prison last year on 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter. Already under house arrest after being released from prison over coronavirus concerns, Almena was ordered to serve the remainder of his sentence under electronic surveillance, followed by three years of probation.

The deadly fire broke out in 2016 during an electronic music event at the warehouse. The building in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood had been illegally converted by Almena into artist housing, including a second floor accessible only by a narrow and dilapidated staircase.

The victims were locked in the warehouse, and prosecutors said during the trial that people had no warning and little chance of escaping the flames and smoke.

According to prosecutors, Almena recently requested that his suspended sentence be transferred to Mendocino County. After the application was filed with the court, officers searched Almena’s home in Ukiah.

Almena appeared in court Friday morning after prosecutors asked for his probation to be revoked, but no decision was made.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge C. Don Clay moved the hearing to October 14.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Man convicted in deadly Ghost Ship fire may go back to prison

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