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Navy sailor acquitted of setting fire that destroyed $1.2bn warship

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A military court judge on Friday acquitted a US navy sailor charged with intentionally setting a fire that destroyed a billion-dollar warship and injured dozens onboard.

Smoke rises from the USS Bonhomme Richard at Naval Base San Diego in July 2020
Sailor charged over fire that destroyed US warship ‘disgruntled’, prosecutors say
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During a nine-day trial at California’s Naval Base San Diego, military prosecutors argued that 21-year-old Ryan Mays ignited the USS Bonhomme Richard on purpose in the summer of 2020 because he was upset that he had dropped out of Navy Seal training.

The defense team countered that there was no physical evidence linking Mays to the blaze – instead, prosecutors’ case relied on an eyewitness whose account shifted numerous times and who admitted to feeling “pressured” by authorities when he named Mays as the main suspect, the San Diego television news station KFMB reported.

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