Second trial for Ghost Ship defendant Derick Almena delayed over COVID-19 crisis

A retrial in the deadly Ghost Ship fire for defendant Derick Almena is delayed due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. 

A second trial for Almena, 49, was supposed to begin in April, but Alameda County Superior Court Judge Trina Thompson pushed the start date back until July 6 as the virus continues to spread. 

Defense lawyers for Alema asked the judge that he be released on bail, arguing that their client is suffering in jail and not a flight risk or danger to the community. Despite those claims, bail for Almena was denied. 

Related: Derick Almena ready for second trial for Ghost Ship warehouse fire

His attorneys called the Thompson's ruling "a disgrace & a pre-conviction penalty."

Almena faces 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter charges for a fire at an Oakland warehouse in 2016 that killed 36 people. 

The lengthy first trial for Almena and co-defendant Max Harris, the warehouse's artistic director, ended last Sept. 5 with jurors deadlocked 10-2 in favor of convicting Almena and acquitting Harris of all charges.

Harris was released from custody later that day but Almena remains in custody in lieu of $750,000 bail as he awaits his second trial.