HUMMER Firebomber Could Get Five Years
A 24-year-old doctoral candidate at the California Institute of Technology could be headed to prison for five years or more, after being convicted on Friday of firebombing vehicles at a HUMMER dealership on Aug. 22, 2003. William Cottrell, a physics student at CalTech, was found guilty of seven counts of arson and one count of conspiracy, the Los Angeles Times reported. Cottrell testified during his trial that SUV dealers were “evil,” the paper says. Cottrell’s two accomplices, Tyler Johnson, a Caltech graduate, and his girlfriend, Michie Oe, have not been indicted and are believed to have fled the U.S. On the night of the incident, four SUV dealers across southern California were targeted and vandalized, with about $5 million in damage being claimed and 125 vehicles lost to the terrorist acts. Cottrell’s lawyers are already planning on asking for a new trial, based on their claim that the convicted man suffers from a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome, which is characterized often by high functioning in school situations but stunted social capability.