Former UC Irvine Professor Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison for Arson

He allegedly wrote emails detailing plans to massacre people at his son’s high school in addition to setting a series of fires

By Christina Cocca
|  Friday, Aug 23, 2013  |  Updated 9:15 AM PDT
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Ex-UCI Professor Gets 14 Years for Arson

Rainer Klaus Reinscheid

A former UC Irvine professor who pleaded guilty to setting a string of fires after his son's suicide was sentenced on Thursday to 14 years and four months in state prison, the Orange County District Attorney's Office said.

Rainer Klaus Reinscheid, 49, of Irvine, was sentenced for committing a series of arsons at his son's high school, the home of the school’s assistant principal and in a park, the DA's office said in a press release.

He lit newspapers, brush and vegetation, a book, and a plastic porch chair on fire, and he used fireplace logs in some cases as an accelerant, prosecutors said.

Reinscheid's 14-year-old son hanged himself last year after he was disciplined by a school administrator at University High for allegedly stealing from the school store, prosecutors said.

His body was found in Mason Park Preserve -- the same park Reinscheid set ablaze a month after the death.

The judge's sentencing came after four days of emotional testimony.

Reinscheid pleaded guilty July 9 to arson charges and a misdemeanor count of resisting an officer. He also pleaded guilty to sentencing enhancements for the use of an accelerant, prosecutors said.

Reinscheid is scheduled for a restitution hearing Nov. 15, 2013, in Santa Ana.

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