Man Sentenced To 10 Years For Fire That Destroyed Theater

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut man was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison for setting fires including the 2019 blaze that destroyed a well-known Shakespearean theater in a shoreline town.

Christopher Sakowicz told the judge at his sentencing that wants to work as a welder following his release from prison, Hearst Connecticut Media reported.

“I want to take the bad and use it for good. I want to work on the buildings I destroyed,” Sakowicz said.

Sakowicz, 20, of Stratford, pleaded guilty in June to setting the fire that burned the American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford to the ground on Jan. 13, 2019.

The theater, built in 1955, was modeled after London’s Globe Theatre. Its stage was graced by the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Christopher Plummer and James Earl Jones. A group of theater and business professionals said last year that it is hoping to rebuild the theater.

Defense lawyer Joseph Bruckmann told the judge that Sakowicz has a long history of mental illness.

“He had issues that were beyond his control,” Bruckmann said.

In addition to the prison time, Bridgeport Superior Court Judge Kevin Russo ordered Sakowicz to undergo psychiatric treatment and be placed on 15 years of special parole.

Two other teens were charged in connection with the theater fire and other blazes. Police said the teens admitted on Snapchat that they set the theater fire and posted an incriminating video that was circulated around their school, Bunnell High School.