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Deadline Looms To Charge Suspected Old Fire Arsonist

Publication Date: 
June 18, 2009
San Bernardino County Sun
Stacia Glenn

Professor Robert Weisberg is quoted in the San Bernardino County Sun in an article about charging an arson suspect in a 2003 wildfire before the statute of limitations runs out:

Rickie Lee Fowler was identified this week by authorities who say the 27-year-old former San Bernardino man deliberately started the Oct. 25, 2003, wildfire that killed six people, destroyed 1,003 homes and charred 91,281 acres.

Fowler, who is in Salinas Valley State Prison on unrelated burglary charges, is expected to face arson and murder charges.


Robert Weisberg, a professor at Stanford Law School, said a second-degree murder charge could likely be proven if there was a high likelihood that the fire could kill someone.

"Or they can go for first degree by making the basic crime arson and saying that death resulted from the fire," he said, adding that "straight-forward premeditated murder" is possible because of the circumstances.