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Defense team begins presenting its case in USS Bonhomme Richard trial

21-year-old Seaman Ryan Mays faces a maximum of life in prison if found guilty.

SAN DIEGO — The trial against the Navy seaman accused of setting fire to the USS Bonhomme Richard continued Monday morning. 

On Friday, prosecutors rested their case against 21-year-old Seaman Recruit Ryan Mays. Monday, the defense team began calling its witnesses to the stand in an attempt to cast reasonable doubt on the government's case. Defense attorneys have always maintained there isn't enough evidence proving Mays started the fire.

Last week, two of the prosecution's witnesses testified they heard Mays admit to setting the fire when they transported him to the brig.

Monday, the defense team called MA1 Jonathan Cannon to the stand. He testified he also helped transport Mays to the brig, but said he did not hear any confession from him.

MA1 Cannon testified that Seaman Recruit Mays was acting playful and joking around on his way to the brig. He said Mays said things like he would at least get a lot of push-ups done at the brig, and that he was going to miss his tinder date that night.

Matthew Gonzales, who said he was an acquaintance of Mays, testified he saw Mays wearing his type III uniform the day of the fire, not the coveralls the prosecution team's eyewitness claims he saw Mays wearing before the fire started.

The judge also heard from a sailor who testified about a previous fire onboard the USS Bonhomme Richard in June 2020, just weeks before the massive fire that destroyed the ship.

He said that fire also started in the storage area of the ship and that there was cardboard in the room.  He said it was a cup that was on fire, but he was able to extinguish it.

WATCH RELATED: Trial begins for Navy sailor accused in USS Bonhomme Richard arson in San Diego 

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