David Damore Guilty of Arson

May 12, 2008 9:18:52 PM PDT
Jurors have returned a guilty verdict for the man who admitted setting the most destructive fire in Fresno history.David Damore admitted to setting the University Village Apartment Complex on fire five years ago. Several people were injured in the fire, and it caused more than 14 million dollars in damage.

Both the prosecution and defense didn't get what they wanted. Prosecution wanted a conviction of aggravated arson which could have sent Damore to prison from anywhere between 10 years to life. But Monday's conviction of arson of structure with great bodily injury means Damore could still face time in prison.

David Damore/Defendant: "I've got nothing to say, Gonna go home. It's been a long day."

David Damore walked out of the Fresno County courthouse after learning Monday's verdict. He admitted to starting the University Village Apartment fire in 2003. Fresno has never seen a fire like this one. Damages exceeded 14 million dollars. Several people were injured. But Damore's defense attorney said the fire wasn't premeditated. The defense called it a drunken stupid act.

Ron Perring/Defense Attorney: "We just lost today. Its true David is not going to prison for the rest of his life and that's exceptional. This guy shouldn't go to prison at all."

The prosecutor isn't called Monday's verdict a victory or defeat. He plans to ask for the maximum punishment when Damore is sentenced.

Michael Frye/Prosecutor: "You can't argue for the jury. It's what our jury system is for of course I wanted more. The defense wanted less. This I think was a compromise position by the jury."

I spoke with a few jurors after the verdict. They told me. They didn't believe Damore premeditated the crime. He will be sentenced in June and faces anything from probation to nine years in prison.


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