'I Would Have Convicted Both': Dismissed Ghost Ship Trial Juror Speaks Out - NBC Bay Area
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'I Would Have Convicted Both': Dismissed Ghost Ship Trial Juror Speaks Out

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    Dismissed Ghost Ship Trial Juror Speaks Out

    A juror in the high-profile Ghost Ship fire trial who made it all the way to deliberations before being dismissed from the panel told NBC Bay Area on Wednesday she was bumped on a technicality, and she would have convicted both Derick Almena and Max Harris. Cheryl Hurd reports. (Published Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019)

    A juror in the high-profile Ghost Ship fire trial who made it all the way to deliberations before being dismissed from the panel told NBC Bay Area on Wednesday she was bumped on a technicality, and she would have convicted both Derick Almena and Max Harris.

    Megan Thierry was one of three jurors dismissed on Day 12 of the deliberations. Two of those jurors may face contempt of court charges. Thierry is not one of them.

    Thierry was juror number one, and was not happy about being kicked off.

    "I was mad that I was dismissed because in my opinion, I don’t think I did anything that warranted dismissal," she said. "The defense was worried. They knew I had a strong opinion leaning in one direction."

    Ultimately, the jury was hung on Almena and acquitted Harris on 36 counts of manslaughter in the December 2016 fire that killed 36 people at the Oakland warehouse.

    Thierry's position was well known when she and two other jurors were dismissed. Thierry said she was released on a technicality.

    "I was let go because I didn’t report the misconduct that happened with one of the other members that was released with me," she said.

    Thierry said that juror discussed the case with a friend who happens to be a firefighter. And Thierry also failed to report getting a text from another juror who encouraged her to change her position on defendant Harris.

    "I would have convicted both," Thierry said.

    Thierry feels strongly that the two men knew the Ghost Ship was dangerous and that lives could have been lost. She said her fellow jurors had a hard time convicting Almena and Harris on criminal negligence.

    "One of the big mistakes the prosecution made -- I think it was for financial reasons -- was to try them together," Thierry said. "It gave people the opportunity to get confused over who did what."

    Thierry said she will be paying close attention to Almena when he goes back to court next month. She said if there is a retrial, she hopes the next jury will do a better job.

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