San Bernardino Old Fire: man found guilty of murder, arson

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.

The 2003 fire burned 91,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,000 homes over nine days. Five men suffered heart attacks as a result of the fire.

Rickie Fowler, 30, was also convicted of two counts of arson along with special circumstances, making him eligible for the death penalty.

Fowler became a suspect when witnesses reported seeing a passenger in a white van tossing burning objects into dry brush. Authorities got a tip and interviewed Fowler several months later, but they didn't have enough evidence to file charges until six years after the fire when he was jailed on a burglary conviction.

Prosecutors said Fowler started the fire apparently as revenge against someone who lived in the area. The sentencing phase of the trial is set to begin on Monday.

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