PORTLAND, Maine — Federal prosecutors have recommended that a young New Hampshire man be sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison for setting fire to a nuclear-
powered submarine docked in Maine, causing an estimated $450 million in damage, but his lawyer asked that the sentence be less than 16 years.
In a sentencing memorandum filed Friday in US District Court, the US attorney’s office recommended the top of the sentencing range allowed under an agreement in which Casey James Fury pleaded guilty to setting fire to the USS Miami.
The agreement limits Fury’s sentence to roughly 15 to 19 years. Prosecutors are seeking a sentence of 19 years and seven months, the maximum allowed under the agreement between Fury’s lawyer and prosecutors.
Fury’s federal public defender, David Beneman, asked Monday for a sentence of 15 years and eight months, the minimum allowed under the deal. .
Fury, 25, is scheduled to be sentenced Friday in federal court in Portland.
It took more than 100 firefighters to save the Miami after the May 23 fire spread while the sub was in dry dock at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery.
The fire injured at least five people who responded to the blaze and could easily have been fatal, prosecutors wrote in the court document. The fire also cost the country the use of a ‘‘vital national asset’’ for 18 months beyond the scheduled maintenance period, he said.
‘‘Simply put, the nature and circumstances of the defendant’s conduct, and perhaps this factor alone, supports a sentence at the top of the advisory guideline range,’’ the document reads.
In his sentencing memorandum, Beneman asked for a shorter sentence based on Fury’s remorse, lack of intent to cause such extensive damage, anxiety and depression, youth, low risk of reoffending, and other factors.
Under sentencing guidelines, the length of Fury’s sentence is driven primarily by the high monetary value of the fire damages, Beneman said.
Fury pleaded guilty in November to setting the fire inside the sub May 23, as well as a second fire outside on June 16.
Fury told Navy investigators he set the fires because he was feeling anxiety and wanted to go home, according to prosecutors. The second fire, on June 16, was quickly doused with no damage.