Man Indicted on 5 Counts of Murder for Starting the 'Old Fire'
The suspected arsonist in the Old Fire that scorched some 90,000 acres of the San Bernardino Mountains was indicted by a jury on 5 counts of murder today. Six people died and 1,000 homes were lost in the October 2003 blaze. Months later on a rainy Christmas day, 14 people died when debris flows swept through a Church camp.
28-year-old Rickie Fowler also faces an indictment of "one count of arson of an inhabited structure and one count of aggravated arson," according to the Associated Press. The death penalty could be in Fowler's future, prosecutors say.
A second suspect, Martin Valdez, was killed in an unrelated shooting in 2004, notes the LA Times. According to witnesses, the two were in a car with one of them throwing lit matches from a van's window, setting off the fire. Since 2003, Fowler has been in jail on burglary charges.