CALIFORNIA (USA): DEATH PENALTY FOR OLD FIRE ARSON RICKIE LEE FOWLER
September 28, 2012: A San Bernardino County jury recommended a death sentence for Rickie Lee Fowler, 30, white, a methamphetamine addict convicted of setting the catastrophic 2003 fire that destroyed 1,000 homes, blackened the San Bernardino Mountains and led to 5 deaths.
The jury in August found that Fowler deliberately set the blaze by tossing a lighted road flare into brush at the base of the mountains. The fire broke out Oct. 25, 2003, at Old Waterman Canyon Road and California 18, and raced through the forest and brush, forcing the evacuation of more than 30 communities and 80,000 people.
Superior Court Judge Michael A. Smith has the legal authority to reduce a death sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole, but such an action is rare in California.
All of the victims were male, between the ages of 54 and 93. A San Bernardino County coroner testified he believed the fire triggered the fatal heart attacks. (Source: Los Angeles Times, 28/09/2012)