The Latest: Suspect in 36 fire deaths appears in court

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The Latest on charges filed in the deadly Oakland warehouse fire(all times local):

10:50 a.m.

A man who leased the Oakland warehouse where 36 people died in a massive fire appeared briefly in court on charges of involuntary manslaughter.

Derick Almena had been expected to enter a plea Thursday but his attorney asked to delay the arraignment.

A judge ordered the 47-year-old Almena to return June 15 when co-defendant Max Harris is expected to make his first appearance on the same charges.

Officials say the warehouse was illegally turned into living spaces and an unpermitted concert was held there on the night of the fire in December.

Almena's attorney Jeffrey Krasnoff said his client is being used as a scapegoat and plans to fight the charges.

Harris doesn't have an attorney yet.


1 a.m.

The man blamed for the nation's deadliest structure fire in more than 14 years will appear in Northern California court on 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Derick Almena is scheduled to enter a plea Thursday. The 47-year-old was arrested and charged Monday with creating a deadly firetrap by illegally converting an Oakland warehouse into a party space and housing.

A Dec. 2 fire at the warehouse killed 36 people.

Almena's attorneys say he plans to fight the charges.

Almena's assistant Max Harris was arrested in Los Angeles on the same charges. Alameda County sheriff's deputies say Harris will soon be transferred to Northern California to face the charges.

Harris has no attorney on record. Both remain jailed on bail of nearly $1.1 million.