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Ricki Lee Fowler sentenced to death for starting 2003 wildfire

Convicted arsonist Ricki Lee Fowler has been sentenced to death for starting a wildfire in San Bernardino, Calif., in 2003 in which several people died.

US wildfire 2012Enlarge
A wildfire rages in the American West. (Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images)

Convicted arsonist Ricki Lee Fowler has been sentenced to death for starting a wildfire in San Bernardino, Calif., in 2003 in which several people died, USA Today reported.

Five people died of heart attacks related to fighting or escaping the fire, and jurors decided those deaths were first-degree murders, USA Today reported.

Known as the Old Fire, the nine-day blaze also destroyed more than 1,000 homes in the city’s Waterman Canyon area, the Wall Street Journal reported. The fire caused more than $5.6 million worth of losses, the indictment said.

Prosecutors said that Fowler started the fire because he was angry that he’d been thrown out of a house where he’d been living, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Death sentences for wildfire-related deaths are not unknown, USA Today reported.

According to USA Today:

In 2009, Raymond Lee Oyler was sentenced to death for setting the October 2006 Esperanza Fire that killed five US Forest Service firefighters in the San Jacinto Mountains.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/130128/ricki-lee-fowler-sentenced-death-starting-2003-w