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Defense in USS Bonhomme Richard trial wraps up its case

Closing arguments are expected to happen Thursday. Then the case goes to the judge.

SAN DIEGO — An ATF special agent was recalled to the witness stand Wednesday morning as the defense continued to present its case to the judge in the USS Bonhomme Richard trial.

21-year-old Seaman Recruit Ryan Mays faces a maximum of life behind bars if convicted of setting fire to the billion-dollar vessel.

Wednesday Special Agent Matthew Beals was questioned by defense attorneys about pulling case reports related to one of the defense’s fire experts. During trial, the expert testified that you cannot rule out other potential causes in this fire, besides arson. 

Defense attorneys attempted to call out Special Agent Beals for doing homework on the witness. However, prosecutors argued this is standard practice for both sides in a trial.

Also, videos taken from a San Diego Fire-Rescue captain's helmet were played in the courtroom.

Captain Jack Middleton testified he was one of the first civilian crews at the scene. He said he went down into the lower vehicle storage area to try and fight the fire. He said there were dumpsters and scaffolding down there that were in the way as he tried to get to where the fire had started.

The defense is expected to rest its case Wednesday afternoon. Closing arguments will begin Thursday.

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