Sunday, December 4

Sailor acquitted of setting fire that destroyed USS Bonhomme Richard


SAN DIEGO — A military judge on Friday acquitted a sailor of arson in a fire that destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard, a blow to the Navy as it faces allegations of improper training and maintenance of the $1.2 billion amphibious assault ship.

Ryan Sawyer Mays, 21, deeply exhaled when the verdict was read, put both hands on the defense table, broke into sobs and hugged supporters in the audience at Naval Base San Diego.

Outside the courtroom building, Mays read a brief statement to reporters and declined to answer questions. He did not address his plans for him.

“I can say that the past two years have been the hardest two years of my entire life as a young man,” he said. “I’ve lost time with friends. I’ve lost friends. I’ve lost time with family, and my entire Navy career was ruined. I am looking forward to starting over.”


www.usatoday.com

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