SAN DIEGO — Court on Naval Base San Diego recessed for the second day Tuesday after hours of testimony from two witnesses focused on the science-based testimonies and fire investigation.

Twenty-one-year-old Ryan Sawyer Mays is accused of setting fire to the USS Bonhomme Richard on July 12, 2020, which burned for four days and caused more than a billion dollars in damages. Mays has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him: aggravated arson and the willful hazarding of a vessel. If convicted, Mays could face life in prison. He waived his right to a jury and the outcome rests in Navy Judge Captain Derek Butler’s hands.

Tuesday’s trial started with NCIS Special Agent Garret Radke, who had taken 3D scans of the aftermath inside the vessel. The 3D video played during the testimony showed the “Lower V,” which is where vehicles and other items were stored. The contents of the Lower V could hardly be identified in the 3D images because of the damages, with the exception of two large forklifts and some barrels.

“It’s been a very stressful time for him but he’s coping, he’s doing the best that he can. I will say his command has been generous in giving him time off to work with his defense counsel,” Barthel said.

Special Agent Matthew Beals with the ATF and a certified fire investigator, who was also the lead in the investigation, was called to the stand after Radke. Beals’ testimony and cross-examination took more than 4 hours. He served as an expert and said his findings in the investigation showed the fire was incendiary, or arson, and there was an open flame available to combustibles, which he identified in this case were tri-walls. Beals called in the National Response Team to assist in the investigation, which included digital forensics, certified fire investigators, explosive specialists. Beals was the one who wrote the 250-page cause and origin report, which he said he has written hundreds of, but the defense pointed out that this was the first cause and origin report Beals wrote during an investigation where the NRT was activated.

Beals testified that no DNA came back in this case, but DNA swabs and liquids were sent back for testing. Beals also testified he believed he found the origin area of the fire, but did not find the ignition source of the fire.

Beals testified that he and his team set up sifting tables to sift through debris in the Lower V of the vessel and all electrical equipment was taken out of the vessel and examined in the daylight. Not all of the equipment was taken to a lab for further testing, though, and the defense has pointed out that Beals and other experts relied on their on-scene knowledge and visual inspection instead of further testing.

During the Article 32 hearing in December, eight lithium-ion batteries were a point of concern for the defense, who believed they were not tested properly to determine if they were the cause of the fire. After the hearing in December, Beals said he went to the vessel and took the eight batteries still on the scene of the fire, 18 months later, into ATF custody, and carried them aboard a plane to hand deliver them to the lab for testing in Maryland. After further scans and testing on the batteries since December, Beals did not change his findings and said he still does not believe the batteries were the start of the fire. The defense has continued to question that.

Beals testified that Mays had told him when the fire started he yelled, “Oh, [expletive], here we go,” and then broke a broom stick over his knee. Beals said Mays’ timeline that he provided to him during interviews was not in accordance with how long it would take to get to and from certain points on the Bonhomme Richard.

The court discussed, but did not play, a video of Special Agent Beals walking around the fire-ridden vessel with Mays, where the defense said Mays said 125 times that he “didn’t do it.” The defense said Beals was with Mays for 10 hours that day.

A short clip was played during testimony that showed Special Agent Beals interviewing Mays, during which Mays says at one point that he just wants to talk to his family.

It’s been pointed out that so far there is no physical evidence proving Mays set the vessel on fire. Special Agent testified that DNA swabs did not come back to Mays.

The defense has reiterated that the prosecution has presented no physical evidence that Mays started the fire.

“The government believes it’s arson and they are trying to establish that but I think that there’s also evidence available to be shown that this could very well be an accidental fire as well,” Attorney Gary Barthel, who previously represented Mays said Tuesday’s courtroom showed in more favor in Mays’ case.

“I think it helps Mays’ case because it’s been consistent with what he says it also goes to show that there were items that ATF did not initially test.”

The government has claimed Mays was disgruntled after dropping out of the Navy SEALs program.

Barthel said Mays’ family and wife are also in the courtroom.

The court is set to reconvene Wednesday at 9 a.m.