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Man convicted in 2012 submarine fire proclaims innocence

FILE - In this Wednesday, May 23, 2012 file photo, smoke rises from a dry dock as fire crews respond to a fire on the USS Miami submarine (SSN 755) at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on an island, in Kittery, Maine. Casey Fury, who is serving 17 years in prison for the fire, says he made a false confession under the threat of a life sentence. He says his confession was false and coerced and wants to ask a judge to reconsider his sentence. The fire caused $700 million in damage and the attack submarine was ultimately scrapped. (AP Photo/The Herald, Ionna Raptis, File)n

KITTERY, Maine (AP) — The man convicted of setting a fire that damaged a nuclear-powered submarine — ultimately causing it to be scrapped when it was deemed too costly to repair — now claims he made a false confession because he was threatened with life in prison.

Casey Fury, who pleaded guilty in the 2012 fire that damaged the USS Miami, told The Portsmouth Herald (http://bit.ly/1A7Qrob) in an interview published Sunday that he does not think he started the blaze.

“I don’t believe I’m responsible,” he said. “I don’t believe I did it. I don’t remember doing it.”

Fury said he wants to ask a judge to reconsider his sentence because his mental health and addiction problems weren’t fully considered at trial.

Prosecutors say Fury was seeking an excuse get off early from his job at the Portsmouth Naval Yard when he set fire to a box of rags in May 2012, starting a blaze that quickly spread through the forward compartments of the Miami. The fire caused $700 million in damage and the Navy eventually decided it was not worth fixing.

Fury, who pleaded guilty to two counts of arson, said he did later set a second, smaller fire and pull a fire alarm on another day.

Fury, 27, said he began suffering anxiety, panic attacks and depression soon after being hired as a civilian to do painting and sandblasting on the submarine, and that he often mixed prescription drugs with alcohol.

Fury said he was taking a lot of medication at the time and doesn’t even remember his confession.

“I don’t think I remember going to work that day,” he told the newspaper.

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