OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - A key witness scheduled to testify this week in the involuntary manslaughter trial involving a Northern California warehouse fire that killed 36 people died over the weekend.
Alameda County prosecutors told a judge Monday that Robert Jacobitz was killed over the weekend.
The Associated Press first reported Jacobitz died in a car crash. But the East Bay Times on Tuesday reported he collapsed in San Pablo and foul play is not suspected.
Prosecutors say Jacobitz was hired as an unlicensed contractor to do inexpensive wiring at the Oakland warehouse three years before a fire erupted in the illegally converted building in December 2016.
Investigators looked closely at the warehouse's electrical system before concluding the cause of the fire could not be determined.
Testimony in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Derick Almena and Max Harris started Monday in Oakland. Each faces 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Prosecutors say they turned the warehouse into an unsafe entertainment venue and residence.