A defense motion to reduce Almena's bail "significantly" from $750,000 was denied. Brian Getz, who represents Almena, called for bail to be reduced to $50,000.
Getz argued in court his client was not a flight risk because he had no money and he was too recognizable from the high-profile case. He argued that if Almena fled he "would never see his family again." He also argued there was "no intent to hurt anyone" and that "everything he has done is in cooperation with the court."
But Judge Thompson alluded to Almena having not abided by court-ordered rules in the past.
"I can’t ignore the fact that Mr. Almena has had court orders or been placed on supervision of some kind in the past, and didn’t always abide by the rules of the authorities," Thompson said.
She also said that although Almena had a "mild" criminal past, she was also considering that "36 lives were lost, and this case has the most heightened circumstances of any homicide case."
Getz said outside court that it was "unfathomable" his client's bail wasn't reduced.
"I felt that this was a bail motion that had merit because Mr. Almena never intended to hurt anybody," Getz said. "And this is different than the other cases where bail was high but there was intentional, willful, violent conduct on the part of the person who was in jail. I know there are some people who say that Almena is not remorseful and has not shown remorse for what happened. Well, he has. Every single day he thinks about it."
Micah Allison, Almena's wife and mother of their three children, attended the hearing, along with other supporters.
"It's really important for me, just for people to know that there are people all over the world praying for our family, and that they want to see him come home to his children," Allison said to reporters after the hearing. "I'm obviously really sad about this denial of the bail. All Derick wants to do is to be with his kids. That's all he wants. That's all he's ever wanted."
Allison said "the remorse that we feel and that everyone feels is immeasurable."
"We will never be the same. We will never be the same," Allison said. "There is nothing that I can do that can take away what happened. Nothing."
Colleen Dolan, mother of fire victim Chelsea Faith Dolan, was glad Almena was heading back to trial.
"I miss her every day. I miss her every night. I think about the fire every day and every night," Dolan said of her daughter outside court. "And I do want the man responsible to be held accountable."
Dolan said she was glad Almena's bail wasn't reduced because she believes he would flee with his family.
After Almena left court on Friday, Thompson held a hearing for two jurors who she dismissed on Aug. 19 during jury deliberations for improper communications and found both of them to be in contempt of court.
Thompson issued a $500 fine for one of the jurors but said she wouldn't impose it and make her pay it. Thompson told the other juror that she would not impose a fine or order her to serve any jail time.