(KTVU) Oakland - "So Mr. Almena will be testifying, and he'll be testifying on his own behalf," said his attorney, Tony Serra. "He's the one that knows the most about what has occurred."
Most defense attorneys don't want their clients on the stand. It's a legal strategy that carries risks, because prosecutors will want to grill defendants on cross-examination. But Serra disagrees.
"I think that his testimony alone will raise reasonable doubt," Serra said.
And the defense has been raising doubt from the very beginning about the DA's case, saying there's no evidence tying either defendant to the fire. And investigators still don't know what started it.
"If you don't have evidence, how do you prosecute somebody?" asked Kali Mari-Bowyer, a spokeswoman for Almena's family. "If you don't have a cause of the fire, how do you prosecute somebody?"
Micah Allison, Almena's wife, made a rare appearance in court to support her husband.
"I haven't seen my husband for months," Allison said. "It's good to see him, terrible to see him like this."
She said of the judge's ruling, "I'm really disappointed that the motion got dismissed today. I don't think that was right. I don't think - the whole thing - I don't feel that it's just"
The trial is set for July 16. Harris will return to court later this month in a bid to reduce his $750,000 bail. Murphy has previously rejected a motion to reduce Almena's bail.