SAN DIEGO — The alleged arson trial of the USS Bonhomme Richard is winding down with defense attorneys attempting to puncture holes in the case against the now 21-year-old Navy Seaman Ryan Sawyer Mays.

The court martial has completed its seventh day. The morning opened up with defense attorneys utilizing fire investigators arguing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ conclusion the ship was destroyed by arson did not track with their own investigation.

Defense witnesses say a forklift along with lithium batteries should be considered possible origins of the fire. In the afternoon, defense attorneys called the lead NCIS investigator, questioning her about a possible second suspect who was found to be searching fire scales on his Google search on the day of the fire. The second sailor was also identified by another crewmember as a man running from the point of origin on the day of the fire.

Prosecutors have alleged Mays was a disgruntled Navy SEAL dropout who wanted to just get off the ship. They also allege Mays had just had a fight with the master chief of the boat.  

The USS Bonhomme Richard was burned to a complete loss on July 12, 2020. The 844-foot wasp class amphibious assault ship was a financial loss of $1.2 billion. If convicted, Mays faces life in prison.