VIDEO: Day 2 of Ghost Ship fire preliminary hearing, witness leaves courtroom during testimony


OAKLAND (KRON) — The Ghost Ship fire preliminary hearing continued for a second day on Thursday, and more drama unfolded in the courtroom.

Two men are charged in the deaths of 36 people that died in the Ghost Ship fire in Dec. 2016.

It was another emotional day in court as more witnesses took the stand Thursday. One woman was so upset that she had to leave the courtroom.

Leah Danielle Vega says she lived at the Ghost Ship warehouse off and on for a year. Vega, a bartender and artist, broke down on the stand several times, weeping as she talked about the warehouse and that fatal night.

Thursday marked the second day of the preliminary examination for defendants Max Harris and Derick Almena.

The two are considered the master tenants of the warehouse, and they are facing 26 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the deaths of those who died in the fire. Many of those that died were at the warehouse for a party that night, but others lived at the Ghost Ship.

Vega called the warehouse a “stone hut” that had a hose for water and makeshift toilets. She said the showers were more like open stalls you would find at the beach.

She said no one was in charge of the Ghost Ship saying, “It was an artist colony.”

Vega, at one point, also became agitated saying, “I don’t know why we are even doing this.”

She called defendant Harris a kind and gentle soul, and that she was a fan.

Harris’ attorney, Curtis Briggs, says so far, the prosecution is not proving its case.

“All of the witnesses that painted a picture that there was no command structure. It was a living, breathing entity and a community and a collective,” Harris’s attorney Curtis Briggs said. “And they all took part in trying to make it a beautiful space to do art.”

The case is going much slower than anticipated. At times, Almena seemed agitated by the pace.

Harris, on the other hand, seemed more relaxed than yesterday when he appeared very nervous.

Court is off on Friday, so the preliminary hearing continues on Monday.



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