SAN DIEGO - A verdict has been reached in the trial against the Navy Sailor accused of setting the fire which destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard.
Ryan Mays, who was a 19 year old sailor assigned to the warship when it burned for more than four days in the San Diego Bay in July of 2020, has been found not guilty. This was a military trial and the decision was delivered by a Navy judge, not a jury, with the not guilty verdict returned after a day of deliberation.
"I could say that the past two years have been that hardest two years of my life as a young man," Mays told reporters outside a court room at Naval Base San Diego. "I've lost time with friends, I've lost friends, I've lost time with family and my entire Navy career was ruined."
Mays was charged with aggravated arson and the willful hazarding of a vessel, and had faced life in prison if convicted. The damage to the Bonhomme Richard was so severe the ship was eventually decommissioned and scrapped, rather than rebuilt, at a cost of $3 Billion.
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