Verdict Marks Just One Step of Many in Ghost Ship Legal Case

The jury verdict Thursday in the Ghost Ship fire trial does not end the legal wrangling in the case, as prosecutors will have to decide if they will retry Derek Almena or seek a plea agreement.

And there are still several civil lawsuits pending.

Legal analyst Dean Johnson said most of the people who took the stand in the months-long criminal trial likely will have to go through the whole process again.

"No matter what happens in this criminal trial, this is not over," Johnson said. "There's a civil trial pending in which all of the people who are said to be responsible for this terrible tragedy will be in the same courtroom."

After the jury's decision Thursday, plaintiffs' attorney Mary Alexander described her client's civil case against the city of Oakland.

"The city knew, the police knew, the firemen knew that this place where they had been living, that they were using it as a cabaret," Alexander said. "There were events that were happening, they failed to stop it."

Alexander's clients also are suing the building owners, who she said should have made sure the property was safe.

Finally, Alexander is going after PG&E because the Ghost Ship inferno possibly started as an electrical fire.

Johnson said the judge or jury in the civil case will be making an important decision.

"There are many many more Ghost Ships out there," he said. "There are many more tragedies like this waiting to happen because of the way our economy works here in the Bay Area because we're creating so many homeless people."

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