In 2003, a fire was set that ended up destroying 1,000 homes and killed five individuals as well. Today, the man accused of starting this fire could face the death penalty. Thirty year old arsonist Rickie Lee Fowler was described by the prosecuting attorney as an "evil sadistic felon who raped, robbed and tortured people throughout his life." The prosecutor also revealed his opinion in the courtroom that Fowler deserves the death penalty.
While the defense team attempted to use Fowler's drug addiction and terrible childhood as an excuse for his behavior, the deputy district attorney says this background still does not dismiss the "misery and mayhem" he caused others.
The defendant was found guilty of murder, as a result of five men dying from heart attacks in the aftermath of the fire he set. The fire burned 91,000 acres- Fowler allegedly set it near his godfather's residence, after his godfather kicked him out of the house. He was also found guilty of two counts of arson, along with special circumstances that could allow for the death penalty to be administered. Throughout the trial, Fowler insisted that he had been forced to make a confession.
People who lost their homes in the fire claimed Fowler had ruined hundreds of individuals' lives. In the words of one man, "The people who died were the worst of it, but then there was half a town gone. It was something I wouldn't wish on anybody, that kind of loss." While awaiting trial for the arson case, Fowler was convicted of sodomizing a jail inmate and sentenced to three terms of 25 years to life in prison.
When an individual faces multiple charges, like Rickie Fowler did, the penalties always tend to be much harsher. If aggravating factors were present in your case, you should seek criminal defense immediately.