Guilty plea in US recruiting center fire in Virgin Islands

ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) — A man who had moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands from Texas has admitted setting fires that destroyed a military recruiting office and damaged two other federal properties in the territory.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Spencer Wayne Allen pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of arson and two counts of damaging federal property.

The 26-year-old admitted causing a series of fires in February 2017 that destroyed the U.S. Navy and Marine Recruitment Center and damaged the nearby federal building and courthouse in Charlotte Amalie.

Allen was initially declared mentally unfit for prosecution until a later evaluation determined he was legally competent. He is to be sentenced in June and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison.

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