Ex-UCI Professor Pleads Guilty In Deal Over Arsons
SANTA ANA (AP) — A former University of California, Irvine professor pleaded guilty Tuesday to multiple counts of arson and other charges in a plea deal after setting fires at his teenage son’s high school and other locations following the boy’s suicide.
Rainer Klaus Reinscheid, 49, of Irvine, accepted the deal from an Orange County Superior Court judge Tuesday during a routine pre-trial hearing, said Deputy District Attorney Andrew Katz.
Reinscheid faces between three and 18 years in state prison when he’s sentenced Aug. 1 after pleading guilty to six counts of arson, three counts of attempted arson and a misdemeanor count of resisting or obstructing an officer, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors accused Reinscheid, who was an associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at UCI, of setting the fires at University High School, a school administrator’s home and a park. Authorities believed he was upset because his son hanged himself after being disciplined for theft from a school store.
Police also seized graphic emails in which Reinscheid expressed fantasies of attacking students and administrators, but no charges were filed for those.
In offering the deal, Judge Gregg L. Prickett shaved more than three years off Reinscheid’s potential maximum sentence, Katz said. Katz said he wants to see Reinscheid sentenced to the new maximum, 18 years, because of the number of fires set and the boldness of the crimes.
Reinscheid’s attorney, Joshua William Glotzer, said in an email that he won’t comment until after the sentencing hearing.
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