Man accused in fire that killed 36 expected to plead guilty

Warehouse Party Fire
Derick Almena
Warehouse Party Fire
Posted at 12:06 PM, Jan 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-14 15:06:50-05

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Relatives of some of the 36 partygoers killed at a San Francisco Bay Area warehouse fire say prosecutors told them a man accused of illegally converting the warehouse into a cluttered artists enclave is expected to plead guilty later this month.

The victims' relatives tell the East Bay Times that Derick Almena is expected to plead guilty to 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter on Jan. 22, ahead of his second trial.

Almena was charged with involuntary manslaughter after a fire swept through a party at an Oakland warehouse in December 2016.

A jury deadlocked on charges last year. He was released from jail in May over coronavirus concerns.