Man Pleads Guilty to ‘Reckless Burning’ of Bellevue’s Islamic Center of the Eastside

The Center will hold a meeting next week to discuss reconstruction efforts.

A homeless man charged with burning down the Eastside’s largest mosque pleaded guilty to first-degree reckless burning on Sept. 15.

King County prosecutors initially charged Isaac Wayne Wilson, 37, with second-degree arson. He’s been held on $1 million bail since Bellevue police arrested him Jan. 14 for his part in a fire that caused significant damage to the Islamic Center of the Eastside, 14700 Main St.

In his guilty plea, Wilson states he recklessly caused damage to a building owned by the Islamic Center of the Eastside by knowingly causing a fire.

Wilson will be sentenced on Friday, Oct. 13 in King County Superior Court. A standard sentencing range for first-degree reckless burning is between 3-8 months with a maximum term of 5 years and a $10,000 fine.

On the night of the fire, a resident of Summerfield Apartments called 911 to report the center was up in flames. A Bellevue police officer at the scene and saw a man lying on the ground about 100 feet from the building. When he approached him, the man, later determined to be Wilson, told the officer, “I did it.”

When the officer questioned if he was the one who lit the fire, Wilson mumbled to himself, and stared at the fire.

After learning Wilson had a Seattle warrant out for his arrest, Bellevue police took him into custody. Officers later smelled gasoline on his clothing and shoes, which became evidence.

While in jail, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents, the Bellevue Fire Department and Bellevue police conducted an investigation that determined the fire was started by arson. Investigators located a gas can, a water jug and video surveillance, all pointing to Wilson as the suspect.

In a review of Wilson’s criminal history, prosecutors learned he was convicted of fourth-degree assault and disorderly conduct in 2016 for an assault on a member of the Islamic Center for the Eastside.

In a December run-in with police, Wilson told officers he had schizophrenia. In the past, members of the Eastside Islamic community tried to help Wilson and pay for his medications because he couldn’t, as he was homeless.

“The impacts of this crime have left the largest mosque community on the Eastside without a house of worship for its many members,” court documents state. “So, this alleged arson is not his first offense by this defendant against the mosque he targeted in this case, and has had devastating impacts on the community.”

Following the fire, around 500 Bellevue residents filled Sammamish High School’s auditorium to learn about how they could help the Islamic Center of the Eastside rebuild.

This Thursday, Sept. 21, the center will hold their monthly meeting to discuss a construction project to rebuild the mosque. The meeting will focus on the floor plan layouts and will seek feedback from the community.

news@seattleweekly.com

This story first ran in the Bellevue Reporter.

More in News & Comment

Federal Way resident Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens, 17, died Jan. 27, 2017. Courtesy photo
Law enforcement challenges report on sting operation that killed Federal Way teen

King County Office of Law Enforcement Oversight’s findings rattle Sheriff’s Office, police union.

Unstable housing? Apply for Section 8

Applications open in February for housing vouchers

In 2018, the city of Seattle approved and then repealed a head tax within a month. It would have levied a $275 per employee tax on businesses grossing more than $20 million annually. Sound Publishing file photo
County head tax bill passes committee

Bill would let King County levy a tax on businesses to fund housing and address homelessness.

Gov. Jay Inslee signs the first bill of the 2020 legislative session into law. On the right stands the bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, who is wearing a red tie. Photo by Cameron Sheppard, WNPA News Service
Gov. Inslee signs tax bill to help fund higher education

Law shifts a portion of the tax burden to large tech companies.

King County Metro’s battery-electric bus. Photo courtesy of kingcounty.gov
King County Metro bus fleet will be electrified by 2035

Future base in South King County would house hundreds of the zero-emission vehicles.

Three-quarters of the suicide deaths among children ages 10 to 14 are caused by firearms, according to a new report from the Firearm Injury and Policy Research Program at the University of Washington. File photo
King County studies youth gun violence amid rising suicides

It’s unclear what’s driving the trend.

Bonsai burglary: trees worth thousands stolen from Pacific Bonsai Museum in Federal Way

The two bonsai, a Silverberry and a Japanese Black Pine, were stolen from the secured public exhibit area early Sunday morning.

A King County work crew clears a road near Preston on Feb. 7, 2020. Heavy rains appear to have caused multiple landslides along the road. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
The future could look a lot like this year’s flood season

Climate change is expected to lead to more winter flooding in King County.

High tides, as seen in this file photo of Raymond’s Willapa Landing Park in Pacific County, could become the norm in the future due to sea level rise. Sound Publishing file photo
UW summarizes Washington climate impact on water

The report localizes information from the United Nations.

Most Read