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Ghost Ship defendant could face jail after weapons found

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The master tenant of a San Francisco Bay Area warehouse that caught fire, killing 36 people during a party in 2016, was ordered to appear in court after prosecutors said a search of his home revealed he violated conditions of his probation by possessing weapons.

Derick Almena is supervised by the Alameda County Probation Department stemming from his conviction for involuntary manslaughter after the inferno at the Oakland warehouse, an unpermitted artists collective called the Ghost Ship that held events in a building officials said was a fire trap.

After he requested that his supervision be transferred to Mendocino County, his home in Lake County was searched by probation officers who found multiple weapons, including a machete, bows and arrows, and a round of ammunition, according to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.

Almena’s terms of supervision had required him not to own, possess, or use any deadly weapons or ammunition, the DA’s office said.

Prosecutors said they were seeking to revoke the supervision deal and Almena could face prison time, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday. Attorneys for Almena didn’t immediately comment.

Almena has been ordered to appear in an Oakland courtroom on Sept. 23 to face the allegations that he violated terms of his probation.

Almena pled guilty to 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter but a plea deal allowed him to avoid prison and serve home detention followed by three years of probation. Almena received nearly 7 years of credit for good behavior.

“He never should have been granted the plea deal for little time in jail nor released to home detention,” Mary Alexander, an attorney for the Ghost Ship victims, told the Chronicle. “He has revealed himself as the violent person he is with this probation violation and it is justice that he return to jail. Hopefully, it will be for many years.”

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