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Guilty plea in USS Miami arson case

Written by Nick Blenkey

USS Miami fireNOVEMBER 8, 2012 — U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II announced today that Casey James Fury, 24, formerly of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, waived indictment earlier today before U.S. District Judge George Z. Singal in Portland, Maine, and pleaded guilty to an information charging him with two counts of arson on and around the Los Angeles Class fast attack nuclear submarine USS Miami (SSN 755) on May 23 and June 16, 2012.

The USS Miami was undergoing work at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard earlier this year when it sustained fire damage that, according to initial estimates, will cost over $400 million to repair. Fury was employed as a painter and sandblaster at PNSY until his arrest on July 23, 2012. He has been detained since his arrest.

According to the U.S. Attorney, Fury admitted in open court that he willfully and maliciously set a fire on the Miami on May 23, 2012, which placed the lives of people on and around the submarine in jeopardy. Miami crew members and firefighters from the PNSY Fire Department and surrounding communities battled the May 23 fire for about 12 hours, finally extinguishing it on the morning of May 24. At least five first responders suffered injuries. Fury also pleaded guilty to setting a second fire in the dry dock area below the Miami on June 16, which was quickly extinguished and caused no injuries.

The first arson charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. The second arson charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. The maximum fine for each count is $250,000 or the cost of repairing or replacing any property damage, whichever is greater. Fury will be sentenced after completion of a pre-sentence report by the U.S. Probation Office.

According to the plea agreement, the parties stipulated that the loss amount was between $200 and $400 million for purposes of calculating the advisory sentencing guideline range under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. The agreement also states that the stipulated loss amount may not reflect the final cost of repairing the damage done to the USS Miami. The parties agreed to recommend a federal prison sentence of between 188 and 235 months.

The case was investigated by the agents of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service with assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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