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Arsonist Faces Possible Death Penalty For 2003 San Bernardino Fires

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Rickie Lee Fowler in 2003. (credit: CBS)

Rickie Lee Fowler in 2003. (credit: CBS)

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SAN BERNARDINO (AP) — Prosecutors are calling for the death penalty for an arsonist convicted of causing five deaths during a 2003 Southern California wildfire.

The penalty phase of Rickie Lee Fowler’s trial began Monday in San Bernardino with a prosecutor noting that Fowler, who’s 30, has a long criminal history that includes convictions for burglary, robbery and rape.

The case resumes Tuesday. A jury will recommend either death or life in state prison without chance of parole.

Fowler was convicted last week of first-degree murder and arson for setting an October 2003 fire in the San Bernardino foothills. The Old Fire burned more than 142 square miles of brush and torched 1,000 buildings. Five residents died from heart attacks.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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