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Worker who set fire to sub sentenced to 17 years

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 15, 2013 at 4:43 pm •  Published: March 15, 2013
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Assistant U.S. Attorney Darcie McElwee said it was telling that Fury set a second fire after the extensive damage caused by the first one.

But the defense lawyer David Beneman contended Fury suffered from depression and anxiety and that he never intended to harm anyone. Beneman described a "spin cycle" caused by Fury's failure to receive adequate treatment.

Fury spoke briefly Friday, apologizing to the people who were hurt and saying he meant no disrespect to the Navy.

"From the bottom of my heart, I'm truly sorry for what I have done," he said.

U.S. District Judge George J. Singal weighed the extreme damage caused by the fire against Fury's lack of criminal record, which consisted of one drunken driving conviction, in finding a sentence in the middle of the 235 months sought by prosecutors and 188 months sought by the defense.

"It is only by the grace of God that no one else was more seriously hurt or killed," the judge said.

When he completes his prison sentence, Fury will have to serve five years of supervised release. The $400 million in restitution was mandated by federal statute, but prosecutors don't expect to collect anywhere near that sum.

The May 23 fire damaged forward compartments including living quarters, a command and control center and the torpedo room. It did not reach the rear of the Groton, Conn.-based submarine, where the nuclear propulsion components are located.

The Navy determined it was cost-effective to repair the vessel with a goal of returning it to service in the middle of 2015. But its future is now uncertain. Repairs have been postponed under mandatory budget cuts known as sequestration.

Rear Adm. Richard Breckenridge, a submarine group commander, said the ship's extensive damage had ripple effects around the Navy, delaying maintenance on other vessels and leading to longer deployments for thousands of sailors.

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Follow David Sharp on Twitter at http://twitter.com/David_Sharp_AP