Crime & Justice

Man who allegedly set 2003 Old Fire faces death penalty if convicted

Rickie Lee Fowler, who allegedly set the 2003 San Bernardino "Old Fire" that destroyed almost 1,000 homes, will face the death penalty if convicted, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Fowler was charged in October with five counts of murder, arson and aggravated arson. Fowler has been in prison since 2003 for burglary.

"A decision to seek the death penalty in a case is never an easy one," said San Bernardino District Atty. Michael Ramos in a statement last week.

The 91,000-acre wildfire broke out Oct. 25, 2003 in the San Bernardino Mountains and forced the evacuation of over 80,000 people. Six lives were lost in the fire. The Old Fire cost $37.6 million and over 4,000 firefighters were assigned to fight it at its peak.