GRANTS PASS, Ore. — A man is facing the death penalty for causing five fatal heart attacks during a wildfire a decade ago. It’s a ruling first of its kind in arsonist convictions.
Rickie Fowler was responsible for starting a fire that burned through 91,000 acres and destroyed buildings. Five men died of heart attacks while evacuating. A nationally known arson investigator, John Lentini, who was holding an event in Grants Pass tells NewsWatch12 he believes this case will not set the standard for future sentences.
“I think this is a one-off case. You got a particularly sadistic, deranged evil man, who either admitted to or set a fire or didn’t. They apparently had good evidence that the guy is who did it, but I think that’s going to set a standard for anything because this is such a weird set of circumstances,” Lentini explained.
Prosecutors in the case said Fowler started the fire out of rage after being thrown out of a home with his family.