A Navy recruit has been found not guilty of the 2020 arson that destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard, causing $1.2 billion in damage “in retaliation for being assigned to deck duty.”
- Recruit Ryan Mays was found not guilty of starting the fire that destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard in July 2020
- Prosecutors were unable to present enough evidence to link Mays to the arson
- The ship burned for more than four days and caused $1.2 billion in damage
- Mace’s defense presented information that the Navy had another suspect they had disposed of after the sailor was kicked out of the service
A 21-year-old Navy recruit has been found not guilty of arson in the fire that destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard in July 2020.
Capt. Derek Butler ruled that the indictment against rookie seaman Ryan Mays did not present strong enough evidence to link Mays to the arson.
Butler added that the evidence presented was mostly circumstantial, according to a CBS8 report.
Mace’s defense added new information to the court that showed the Navy had another suspect they had previously investigated. The investigation was then dropped after the sailor was kicked out of the service.
The prosecution’s original argument against Mays, who was 19 at the time, was revenge for failing to become a Navy SEAL.
The fire, which led the Navy to abandon the ship entirely, burned for four days and caused an estimated $1.2 billion in damage.
US Navy Seaman Ryan Sawyer Mays acquitted by court-martial of arson that destroyed USS Bonhomme Richard
Mace was named as the prime suspect after testimony from a sailor who said he saw Mace walking toward the source of the fire minutes before it started.
In the prosecution’s closing arguments, they added that the fire was “a prank by a disgruntled sailor to prove a point.”
Prosecutors continued, despite circumstantial evidence, citing that Mays had the motive, opportunity and ability to commit arson.
In Mace’s defense, his team argued that the charge was prejudicial. The use of eyewitnesses was arbitrary, as they reportedly changed their story several times and admitted to feeling “pressured” to name a suspect.
This story is a work in progress and will be constantly updated.