Ex-USC student gets 7 years for setting bar fire

  • Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2013 4:10 p.m.

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- A judge has ordered a 22-year-old former University of South Carolina student to spend seven years in prison and get drug, alcohol and mental health counseling after he admitted burning down a Columbia bar.

Theodore Podewil IV pleaded guilty Thursday to throwing a firebomb at the Salty Nut bar in January 2012. Authorities say he also threw the homemade bombs from parking garages, at vacant houses and trash bins.

Podewil faced up to 15 years in prison. His lawyer says he was an Eagle Scout but struggled with mental illness and has tried to commit suicide.

Podewil was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but will only have to serve seven years if he gets counseling and successfully serves five years of probation.

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