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USS Miami arson case working toward resolution for the accused

PORTSMOUTH - The case of a civilian worker accused of setting two fires aboard a submarine at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard this spring may be resolved without the need for a grand jury indictment.

Paperwork filed with the U.S. District Court in Portland, Maine, indicates that Casey James Fury, 24, has been offered a "substantive offer" and "significant progress" has been made towards a resolution.

The government said it had no objection to the defendant's motion to extend the time because "the potential resolution of this case without the need for a grand jury indictment will save substantial national resources."

U.S. Magistrate Judge John H. Rich III granted the motion on Oct. 29.

On July 22, Fury was charged with two federal felony counts of arson within special maritime and territorial jurisdiction for setting two fires aboard the USS Miami, which was in a dry dock at the shipyard for maintenance. The first fire was set on May 23 inside the front end of the submarine and took more than 12 hours to fight causing an estimated $400 million in damage. A second fire was set outside of the submarine on June 16 and was not as significant an event.

According to court records, Fury has confessed to setting the two fires because of anxiety and a desire to get out of work.

Fury was a civilian employee of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard working aboard the USS Miami as a painter and sand blaster.

He faces life in prison if convicted.

In previous filings, the government said the magnitude of the fire damage, the volume of investigatory evidence, and the forensic arson evidence in this matter are "voluminous, technical and will consume large amounts of time and resources to consolidate, produce and review" leading to previous requests for an extension on the deadline for seeking indictment.

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Gretyl Macalaster may be reached at gmacalaster@newstote.com.

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