Rickie Lee Fowler indicted for 2003 "Old" fire

Rickie Lee Fowler
Rickie Lee Fowler

A Grand Jury in San Bernardino, Calif. today indicted Rickie Lee Fowler for setting the Old fire which burned 91,000 acres in 2003 in southern California. He was charged with five counts of murder, one count of arson of an inhabited structure, and one count of aggravated arson with special circumstances. Six Five heart attack deaths have been linked to the fire which burned in the areas of Lake Arrowhead, Running Springs, and Big Bear.

District Attorney Michael Ramos said the charges could bring the death penalty.

As Wildfire Today reported on June 14, 2009, Mr. Fowler has been a suspect as the arsonist for some time, but apparently there was no rush to indict him since at that time he was serving a nine-year prison sentence for burglary.

A second suspect, Martin Valdez, 24, was killed in an unrelated shooting in 2006 in Muscoy, California.

Witnesses reported to fire investigators that they had seen a man flipping lighted matches from a van, which started the Old fire. They helped law enforcement officers draw a composite sketch, which received widespread publicity.

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