Suspect in Submarine Fire Considers Plea Deal
PORTLAND, Maine -- Casey James Fury, the man charged with sparking a destructive fire on board the USS Miami, has been offered a proposal to resolve his criminal case without a trial, according to new court documents filed this week.
Prosecutors from the U.S. attorneys office in Portland, Maine, and Fury's attorney, public defender David Beneman, have been meeting for the past several weeks to discuss a potential resolution of the trial without the need for a grand jury indictment.
In a motion filed Monday, Beneman said the two sides have made "significant progress," and asked the judge presiding over the case to delay the deadline by which prosecutors must bring forward a grand jury indictment.
"Very recently, a substantive proposal has been presented to the defendant," Beneman wrote in the Oct. 29 motion. "An additional period of time is needed to review the proposal. Hurricane Sandy is currently raging to our south and sending high winds, waves and tides toward the Maine coast. Counsel cannot be certain how long or significant the weather disruption might be and what effect it may have on office operation or attorney client communications. An additional enlargement of time is needed to complete the current discussions which have produced the pending proposal which the defense needs time to fully explore and explain to the client."
Prosecutors say Fury, 24, has confessed to setting a fire in May that ravaged the forward area of the USS Miami, a Los Angeles-class attack submarine. The ship was undergoing an overhaul at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, at the time.
Investigators say Fury, a civilian painter and sandblaster, has also confessed to lighting a second fire underneath the same ship on June 16.
Fury allegedly set both fires in order to leave work early. He had been assigned to work on the Miami while it was undergoing an overhaul at the shipyard.
Fury was arrested in July, following an investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. He was ordered held without bail as he awaits a grand jury indictment.
Under federal law, prosecutors were previously required to seek an indictment by Aug. 22. U.S. Magistrate Judge John H. Rich III granted an extension of the deadline Monday, pushing the date by which a deal must be reached or an indictment must occur to Nov. 30.
In motions filed in federal court in Portland, Beneman has explained that foregoing the indictment process could ultimately save "substantial national resources extending beyond just court resources."
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