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Professor jailed after setting fires because his son committed suicide

By Mason White 11:44 AM August 23, 2013
Rainer Klaus Reinscheid 

By: David Ross
A man was arrested, charged and convicted of arson related charges after he set numerous fires, according to court proceedings in California.

After carefully considering the case, an Orange County judge on Thursday sentenced a former professor at the University California Irvine, who set several fires without injury following the suicide of his 14-year-old son, to 14 years and four months in prison.

Rainer Klaus Reinscheid, 49, a German citizen, who was an associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, was given 393 days credit since he was in custody since his arrest. He also received another 393 days credit for good behavior.
“It was a tragic case,” defense attorney Dan Leib said. “The judge seemed to be heavily influenced by the impact on the school, families and community,” he said.

Superior Court Judge Gregg Prickett sentenced the man.
Reinscheid wrote in an email saying that those who hurt his child “need to suffer before they die.”

Defense attorney Leib argued that the professor was under the influence after being distraught about his son’s suicide. His son was found hanging in a local park.

Reinscheid told the court he lost his son, and then himself. He pleaded for mercy, saying he wanted to return to Germany and take care of his wife and child, 7.

Reinscheid could have gotten just three years in prison or as many as 18.
Reinscheid’s late son, Claas, was allegedly caught stealing something from a snack bar and was told to pick up trash as his punishment.

He pleaded guilty to one count of arson of another’s property, two counts of arson of a structure and three counts each of arson of forest land. He also pleaded guilty to attempted arson, along with a misdemeanor charge of resisting and obstructing an officer.

Because he is a German citizen, Reinscheid could be deported when he is released from prison.