TECUMSEH, Neb. — An inmate accused of starting fires at a southeast Nebraska prison during a deadly riot has been sentenced to an additional 30 to 50 years behind bars.

Justin Busch was found guilty of first-degree arson Thursday, the Lincoln Journal Star reported. He had been serving an 18- to 24-year sentence for robbery charges at Tecumseh State Correctional Institution when a riot broke out on Mother’s Day in 2015.

“Thirty years, that’s his life,” said Jeff Busch, Busch’s father.

The riot caused severe damage to the prison and left two inmates, Shon Collins and Donald Peacock, dead. No one has been charged in the deaths.

Defense attorney Lee Timan had contended that Busch wasn’t the only person to set fires during the riot. He said Busch didn’t intend to harm anyone.

“The intent, of course, was to draw light and attention to the major concerns that he had with Tecumseh State Correctional Institution,” Timan said.

Johnson County District Judge Ricky Scheiner said he doesn’t hold Busch responsible for the deaths, but said he does hold him accountable for creating a violent environment.

“There’s absolutely no excuse for what you did, none whatsoever,” Schreiner said.

Busch set fires to windows and doorways that allegedly gave inmates access to part of the prison, the prosecution contended.

“Those fires created chaos in an already chaotic situation,” said Johnson County Attorney Rick Smith.

Busch, who is now being held at the Lincoln Correctional Center, said he takes responsibility for his actions, but that he isn’t a bad person.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com

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