Ex-UCI professor gets 14 years for arson

A former UC Irvine associate professor who wrote emails saying he planned to kill students and administrators and burn down an Irvine high school was sentenced Thursday to 14 years and four months in state prison.

Rainer Klaus Reinscheid, 49, of Irvine, pleaded guilty in July to six felony counts of arson, three felony counts of attempted arson and one misdemeanor count of resisting an officer.

On Tuesday, the first day of his sentencing hearing, Reinscheid apologized and asked for mercy, according to an Orange County Register article.

"I lost my son, and then I lost myself," Reinscheid told Orange County Superior Court Judge Gregg Prickett, according to the article. "My grief was overwhelming. It felt like the end of the world to me."

Reinscheid set off on his arson spree in July 2012 — four months after his 14-year-old son committed suicide — and roamed among University High School, Mason Park Preserve and a school administrator's home, lighting various objects on fire, including newspapers, brush and vegetation, a book, and a plastic chair, according to earlier reports.

Several people spoke during the hearing, which was attended by UCI faculty members and representatives of the Irvine Unified School District, according to a news release. One victim described a fire outside his home and how it destroyed his sense of safety, the release said.

Reinscheid is scheduled for a restitution hearing Nov. 15.

— Beau Nicolette

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