SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) — A prosecutor said Monday a man who was angry about being thrown out of a house where his family was staying was guilty of murdering five people who had heart attacks after he deliberately torched a hillside and started a raging wildfire that destroyed hundreds of homes in Southern California.
Supervising Deputy District Attorney Robert Bulloch flashed picture after picture of burning forests and firefighters as he delivered his opening statement at the trial of Rickie Lee Fowler.
"This fire was deliberately set," Bulloch said. "It was set maliciously by this defendant, Rickie Fowler. He did it because he was angry. He did it because he was selfish. He did it because he wanted revenge."
The charges against Fowler signaled a tough new standard for arson cases in a region plagued by wildfires that sometimes claim the lives of firefighters and civilians.