Navy sailor not responsible of setting fireplace to USS Bonhomme Richard ship


A 21-year-old sailor has been discovered not responsible of setting a devastating fireplace that destroyed the $1.2 billion USS Bonhomme Richard amphibious assault ship in California, a Navy choose dominated Friday.

Ryan Sawyer Mays, who had been charged with arson and the willful hazarding of a ship over the July 2020 inferno, broke down sobbing because the ruling was handed down following a nine-day trial at Naval Base San Diego.

“I’m so grateful that that is lastly over,” Mays stated outdoors courtroom, in keeping with USNI Information. “I’ve been ready a very long time.”

The sailor added that the final two years “have been the toughest of my complete life” and that he was grateful to the choose for clearing his title.

“I’ve misplaced time with associates. I’ve misplaced associates,” Mays stated. “I’ve misplaced time with household, and my complete Navy profession was ruined. I’m wanting ahead to beginning over.”

He had been charged with arson and the willful hazarding of a ship over the July 2020 inferno that destroyed the amphibious assault ship in San Diego.

Prosecutors had painted him as a disgruntled and conceited sailor who was livid about being assigned to deck obligation after failing to turn out to be a Navy SEAL.

They accused the then-19-year-old Mays of setting cardboard containers alight in a decrease automobile storage space to drive house an earlier textual content message he’d despatched his division officer that the ship had turn out to be so cluttered it was “hazardous.”

The prosecution introduced no bodily proof tying Mays to the hearth on the ship — a reality his protection crew ran with all through the trial.

Mays was formally charged in July 2021 after a fellow sailor had claimed to have seen him within the decrease deck area.

His protection crew argued throughout his trial that investigators had rushed to judgement and failed to gather proof which will have proven lithium ion batteries or a sparking forklift may have been the supply of the blaze.

Crews work to put out the ship's fire
The fireplace ended up burning for practically 5 days and injuring greater than 60 sailors and civilians.

His lead protection legal professional, Lt. Cmdr. Jordi Torres, argued in closing statements that “apparently having a lighter makes you an arsonist” — referring to the very fact investigators had discovered a small lighter amongst Mays’ private possessions.

“Seaman Recruit Mays was discovered not responsible on the costs of willful hazarding of a vessel and aggravated arson,” Lt. Samuel R. Boyle, spokesman for U.S. third Fleet, stated within the wake of the ruling.

“The Navy is dedicated to upholding the ideas of due course of and a good trial.”

The blaze, which ended up burning for practically 5 days and injuring greater than 60 sailors and civilians, broke out when the USS Bonhomme Richard was docked and present process upkeep.

Prosecutors acknowledged in the course of the trial {that a} Navy report final yr concluded the blaze was allowed to burn for days as a result of a collection of particular person and systemic failures — together with that crews won’t skilled correctly in fireplace preparedness.

Greater than 20 senior officers and sailors had been disciplined within the wake of the blaze.

With Put up wires

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