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The Latest: Judge rejects plea deals in deadly Oakland fire

August 11, 2018
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FILE - This Dec. 3, 2016, file image from video provided by KGO-TV shows the Ghost Ship Warehouse after a fire swept through the building in Oakland, Calif. Two men who pleaded no contest to 36 charges of involuntary manslaughter will face the family members of those who died in a fire at an illegally converted Northern California warehouse. A two-day sentencing hearing for Derick Almena and Max Harris is scheduled to begin Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, in Oakland. (KGO-TV via AP, File)

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Latest on the sentencing of two men convicted in a Northern California warehouse fire that killed 36 people (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

A judge is rejecting the plea deals of two men who were charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter after a 2016 California warehouse fire.

Judge James Cramer said Friday that 48-year-old Derick Almena didn’t accept “full responsibility and remorse.”

The plea deal called for sentencing Almena to nine years in prison and 28-year-old Max Harris to six years. Relatives of victims of the deadly blaze had slammed the proposed sentences as too lenient.

Almena’s attorney, Tony Serra, told reporters after the hearing that he will take the case to trial.

Prosecutors have charged the two men turned the warehouse into a residential death trap by cluttering it with highly flammable knick-knacks and blocking the few exits.

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12:01 a.m.

Two men who accepted a deal in exchange for each pleading no contest to 36 charges of involuntary manslaughter in connection with a California warehouse fire will likely be released from prison after serving just half their sentences.

It’s typical for California prison inmates who keep a good disciplinary record to be released after serving half their terms.

Judge James Cramer on Friday is expected to sentence 48-year-old Derick Almena to nine years in prison and 28-year-old Max Harris to six years, even though relatives of victims of the 2016 blaze in Oakland have slammed the proposed sentences as too lenient.

A prosecutor said the two men had turned the warehouse into a residential “death trap” by cluttering it with highly flammable knick-knacks and blocking the few exits.

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