LJWorld.com weblogs The Lawrence Crime Blotter

Judge sentences KU arsonist to 5 years


![][1]A judge this morning sentenced a mentally ill former Kansas University student to five years in prison for a March 2004 arson spree that included a fire set in the stacks of Watson Library on the KU campus.Judge Robert Fairchild sentenced David Ryan Jay to three years in prison for the fire at the library, plus one year each for a fire at the dental office of Keith Jones, 647 Country Club Terrace, and at Clinton Parkway Nursery & Garden Store, 4900 Clinton Parkway.Jay already is serving a six-year prison sentence for setting 13 fires in Johnson County around the same time as the Lawrence fires. One of those fires destroyed a $7 million senior center under construction in Olathe and injured a firefighter.After Jay's arrest, he was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome - essentially high-functioning autism - attention-deficit disorder, mild cognitive delay and a form of psychosis. He told police he set fires using starter logs and just wanted to see a fire - the more spectacular, the better.-contributed by [Eric Weslander.][2] [1]: http://www.ljworld.com/art/apps/pennynews/1079620016_davidryanjay.jpg [2]: http://www2.ljworld.com/staff/eric_weslander


Kornphlake 11 years, 8 months ago

Why is somebody with Autism and psychosis looking at serving 11 years in prison? Is there no mental hospitals left? I used to work with this guy at NCS, anyone that knew him can tell you that he wasn't all there.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 8 months ago

because autism is a condition of varing degrees and the courts must have decided that his degree was not severe enough to warrent hospital but jail. Am not familiar with this case so this is just an explenation not agreeing or disagreeing with the verdict.

Sigmund 11 years, 8 months ago

I am guessing here but he is facing jail time because he committed a crime? Those who are mentally ill and commit no crimes are not sentenced to prison. Again just guessing.

Rationalanimal 11 years, 8 months ago

Why prison, when this person clearly belongs in a psychiatric institution?

Aiko 11 years, 8 months ago

He also use to work at Microtech Computers. Strange cat!

Sigmund 11 years, 8 months ago

He was not so mentally disabled that he could not attend KU. Who is to say which predominated in his actions, the autism or the criminal? Given the lack of success mental health professionals have had treating other mental illnesses, and given the stresses currently on the budget (were having a hard time funding everything from schools to dog training for prisoners), and given that Kansans are already among the most heavily taxed citizens in the nation, I am fine with this guy going to prison.

J Good Good 11 years, 8 months ago

I agree with some of what Sigmund is saying, but if you think Kansans are among the most heavily taxed in the nation, you probably have never lived on either coast......................

Sigmund 11 years, 8 months ago

jg, I stand corrected (BTW, I have lived on the left coast). Kansas ranks 15th most heavily taxed and I was thinking 5th.


Centrist 11 years, 8 months ago

Mentally ill, yet managed to work at several jobs.

Not bad for someone who doesn't know what they're doing.

IMHO, unless you're running around in a chicken suit saying "the sky is falling", then you're not mentally ill.

More excuses for crimes, that's all ..

Why do "mentally ill" people always commit crimes? Hmm ...

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 11 years, 8 months ago

Well however much we are being taxed, it is way too much! Too much tax money is wasted on BS. Thank you, Lynn

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 11 years, 8 months ago

I think the sentence is way too lenient, given the severity of the crimes. Thank you, Lynn

davisnin 11 years, 8 months ago

I worked with him at NCS as well. We called him Columbine (behind his back). He was a weirdo, which apparently is a syndrome now, but he was together enough to know better.

christym 11 years, 8 months ago

My son (age 3) has Asperger's syndrome. It is essentially similar to high-functioning autism, and is a poorly understood medical disorder (a developmental disorder- not a mental illness). Many people with Asperger's syndrome do very well as adults in science fields. Possibly one issue is that this man's syndrome, if the diagnosis was accurate at the time he was arrested, was not caught when he was a child, so appropriate measures were not taken. Asperger's children generally are very socially delayed and have difficulty understanding social cues and socially appropriate behavior. If this person has Asperger's, I feel sorry that it wasn't caught by professionals in his school when he was a child or by his parents. After moving here from another state, I am astounded at the utter lack of resources available to families who are dealing with this disorder.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.