A Navy sailor accused of setting a fireplace that destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard in San Diego was set to go to trial Monday.
Seaman Recruit Ryan Sawyer Mays, 21, faces expenses of arson and willful hazarding of a vessel for allegedly setting the blaze that started July 12, 2020, and burned for a number of days whereas the warship was docked at Naval Base San Diego.
Prosecutors have alleged that Mays was “disgruntled” with the Navy after dropping out of the SEAL coaching program.
Mays has denied any function within the fireplace, although different sailors beforehand testified to seeing him enter the ship’s “Decrease V” space — the place investigators say the fireplace originated — simply previous to the blaze breaking out. One sailor who escorted Mays to the brig after he was arrested in reference to the blaze alleged Mays stated, “I’m responsible. I suppose I did it … it needed to be carried out.”
Mays’ trial at Naval Base San Diego is predicted to final two weeks. He faces as much as life in jail if convicted.
At an Article 32 listening to held final yr on the base, prosecutors alleged the blaze was sparked by somebody touching an open flame to an ignitable liquid utilized to tri-wall containers within the Decrease V.
Protection skilled witnesses challenged findings that the blaze was an incendiary — or deliberate — fireplace, and stated additional evaluation of the scene ought to have been accomplished earlier than investigators dominated out attainable unintentional causes of the blaze. They’ve additionally alleged that investigators neglected one other sailor who may have been a attainable arson suspect.
Whereas Mays is the one individual criminally charged in reference to the fireplace, the Navy issued a letter of censure earlier this yr to the previous commander of its U.S. Pacific Fleet, alleging management failures stemming from the fireplace, and in addition issued 27 “particular person disposition choices” concerning fireplace prevention, readiness and response efforts aboard the ship.