FILE - In this July 3, 2018, file photo, attorneys Tony Serra, center, and Brian Getz, right, representing Derick Almena, speak to reporters at a courthouse in Oakland, Calif. More than two years after 36 people died in the fire, Almena and Max Harris, the two men who face charges of involuntary manslaughter, will stand trial on charges that they allegedly illegally converted the industrial building into an unlicensed entertainment venue and artist live-work space. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Men face trial for fatal California warehouse fire

April 30, 2019 - 12:22 am

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A trial is set to begin for two men who face 36 counts each of involuntary manslaughter after a deadly fire broke out at an illegally converted Northern California warehouse.

Derick Almena rented the Oakland warehouse that caught fire Dec. 2, 2016, during an electronic music show. Prosecutors say the 49-year-old illegally converted the warehouse into an unlicensed entertainment venue and live-work space for artists.

Harris collected rent and scheduled concerts.

An Alameda County jury of nine women and three men was finalized Monday and opening statements are expected to begin Tuesday in Oakland.

A judge last year scuttled a plea deal between the two men and prosecutors. Almena agreed to a nine-year prison sentence and Harris to six years, but the judge said Almena didn't show remorse.

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