Max Harris Bio, Wiki
Max Harris is a 29-year-old tenant infamous for the Ghost Ship warehouse fire that took the lives of 36 people on December 2nd, 2016. On September 5th, 2019 a jury couldn’t agree whether Harris who converted an Oakland warehouse into an artists colony and event space was guilty of involuntary manslaughter who helped Almena, was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
Harris was one of the tenants, and at times acted as an assistant to Almena, helping with projects around the warehouse, collecting rent, and on the night of the fire, working the door for a concert. Almena, on the other hand, was the master tenant of the warehouse known as the Ghost Ship, converting it into a warren of apartments filled with wood pallets, musical instruments, and antiques, all powered with a makeshift network of extension cords.
Max Harris Charges
Max Harris is charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter for a fire that took the lives of 36 people on December 2nd, 2016.
The warehouse, dubbed the Ghost Ship, was a live-work space for artists and musicians, and Harris, who had previously been homeless, lived alongside 20 other people in the Fruitvale neighborhood.
Although Harris claims he had no real authority, the defendant collected rent, mitigated personal conflicts and directed the artistic vision of the warehouse along with Derick Almena, who is also on trial for the same charges.
Since his arrest in 2017, Harris has been kept in solitary confinement and has had an overall “tough time” at Santa Rita Jail.
Harris was stamping hands at the entrance of the warehouse, which was hosting an electronic music party, on the night of the fire. A situation he described as terrifying and surreal.
The hung jury verdict for Derick Almena, 49, was announced on Thursday after a four-month trial and more than two weeks of jury deliberations. Max Harris, a 29-year-old tenant who helped Almena, was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
While critics and family members acknowledge that Harris did not want this to happen, they believe he should be held accountable. Supporters believe that Harris is a scapegoat to the root of larger problems, such as inspections.
Chief assistant district attorney Kevin Dunleavy told reporters on Thursday, September 5th, 2019 that prosecutors would be speaking with jurors and evaluating the case against Almena. “Because it is a pending case, we really have no further things to say on the matter,” he said.
Ghost Ship warehouse fire
On December 2nd, 2016, a fire broke out on the first floor of the warehouse and quickly spread through the structure, which was described by some visitors as a tinderbox. Smoke and flames overtook a staircase made from wooden pallets, trapping some concertgoers on the second floor. It took firefighters more than five hours to extinguish the blaze, and ultimately 36 men and women were killed. They ranged in age from 17 to 61, and all but one were visitors to the Ghost Ship.