Former UC Irvine Professor Pleads Guilty to Arson

Crimes occurred after professor's son committed suicide, authorities said

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    Rainer Klaus Reinscheid

    A former UC Irvine professor who set several fires and wrote emails detailing plans for sexual assaults and a massacre at a local high school pleaded guilty to nine counts of arson, authorities said Tuesday.

    Rainer Klaus Reinscheid, 49, of Irvine, faces a sentence of three to 18 years in state prison, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office. Reinscheid's sentencing hearing is set for Aug. 1.

    Reinscheid wrote the emails and set five fires last year, months after his 14-year-old son committed suicide.

    The son was a student at University High School, where he had been disciplined over a minor theft incident, prosecutors said. Weeks later, in March 2012, the teen killed himself in Mason Park Preserve.

    Reinscheid allegedly targeted the high school and the park after his son's death.

    In April 2012, he sent emails to his wife, with one titled "a good plan," which described in detail "his plan to burn down University High School, commit sexual assaults, purchase firearms and murder school officials and students, and then kill himself," according to the Orange County District Attorney's office.

    Reinscheid's attorney, Ron Cordova, said his client was an anguished soul who wrote the emails as a "therapeutic exercise."

    Between July 4 and 24, 2012, the professor set five fires - three on the school's campus, one at the park and one at a school administrator's home, authorities said.

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