They weren't burned. They didn't suffer from smoke inhalation. But nearly nine years after a wildfire in the foothills of California, a man now faces the death penalty over five deaths that authorities say are connected with the fire.
FOX News Radio's Chris Hoenig reports:
They died of heart attacks, but prosecutors say it was murder...and a San Bernardino jury agrees, convicting 30-year-old Rickie Fowler of first-degree murder in the deaths of five men evacuating their homes in the October 2003 wildfire.
(Lee) "Justice was served in this first phase of the trial."
...Chris Lee, spokesman for the District Attorney's office.
Fowler, also convicted of two counts of arson for tossing burning road flares into dry brush, sparking the fire. State law says if anyone dies during a felony, the person convicted of that crime is responsible for the deaths.
(Lee) "The District Attorney will seek the death penalty in this case."
The sentencing phase starts Monday. Fowler's defense attorney, declining comment.
Chris Hoenig, FOX News Radio.