The defendant accused of setting 2003’s Old Fire, 28-year-old Rickie Lee Fowler of San Bernardino, was arraigned in San Bernardino Superior Court today, on five counts of Murder, one count of Arson of an Inhabited Structure or Property, and one count of Aggravated Arson. Fowler appeared before Judge Brian McCarville, and pleaded not guilty to all counts. Fowler had been arrested on October 20, just days before the six-year anniversary of the Old Fire, which accounted for the burning of 91,000 acres, damage to nearly 1,000 homes, and the evacuation of 30 communities, including the Big Bear Valley. Fowler (who, since the fire, had been serving time in Lancaster State Prison on a burglary conviction) has a pre-trial hearing set for November 30; per District Attorney Michael Ramos, his bail has been set at $1,000,000.
You Have Been Excused From Jury Duty; Superior Court General Order Relieves Big Bear Residents of Jury Duty, Given Reduction in Court Hours