A fire burns aboard the nuclear-powered submarine USS Miami on May 23, 2012.
PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- 24-year old Casey James Fury has pleaded guilty to two counts of arson in the fires that were set on the U-S-S Miami, a naval submarine sitting in dry dock as it was undergoing an overhaul at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard this spring. Damage to the ship is estimated at more than $450 million.
U-S Attorney Thomas Delahanty announced the terms of the plea deal at a news conference Thursday afternoon. Fury faced up to life in prison given the charges against him. Under this plea, he'll be sentenced anywhere between 188 - 235 months (15 1/2 - 19 1/2 years). Attorney Delahanty says a judge has accepted the plea, pending the results of a pre-sentencing report, which will take into account Fury's criminal and personal background as well as the seriousness of the crime.
"This is, we think, a very significant sentence regardless of where the court decides to impose a sentence within that range," Delahanty said.
Delahanty says he feels the sentence both reflects the seriousness of putting the lives of 50 co-workers in jeopardy, and the fact that Fury likely did not anticipate the amount of damage the fire would cause. The damage to the ship was extensive in the first fire on May 23, and 5 first responders were injured as they fought the flames. Court documents show Fury admitted to setting both the big fire and a second, smaller fire on June 16 because he wanted to get out of work. He will be ordered to pay restitution, though Delahanty acknowledges there is no way Fury will ever make enough money to pay even a fraction of the money he would owe.
A sentencing date has not been set, though Fury is likely to be sentenced in March.
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