San Bernardino, CA, August 15,2012, 1:00pm – A jury has found Rickie Lee Fowler guilty of all first-degree murder and arson charges for lighting the 2003 Old Fire in Waterman Canyon, in the foothills above San Bernardino. The jury also found the special circumstances true, meaning the trial will now move into the penalty phase to determine if Fowler should receive the death penalty. A report in The San Bernardino Sun Newspaper says the verdicts were announced today, Wednesday, August 15,2012 in the courtroom of Judge Michael Smith in San Bernardino Superior Court. Rickie Lee Fowler, a 30 year-old from San Bernardino, ignited the 2003 Old Fire that burned more than 91,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,000 structures. The fire cost nearly $38 million. Fowler was charged with five counts of murder, two counts of arson and special circumstances, which allowed prosecutors to pursue the death penalty. Prosecutors say five residents in burn areas died from heart attacks caused by the stress of evacuation, and threats to homes and belongings. According to the San Bernardino Sun, after the verdicts were announced, the judge dismissed the jury from the courtroom. Attorneys now need to gather witnesses and prepare for the penalty phase of the trial, which is scheduled to start on Monday.

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