Man found guilty of murder in Calif arson wildfire

March 6, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
A jury has convicted an auto mechanic of the first three of five murder counts in a 2006 California arson wildfire that overran a federal firefighting engine crew. The guilty verdicts were returned Friday against 38-year-old Raymond Lee Oyler in Riverside County Superior Court.

Oyler was charged with five counts of first-degree murder, 23 counts of arson and 17 counts of using an incendiary device for fires set between May 16, 2006 and Oct. 26, 2006.

He was charged with setting nearly two dozen fires over a five-month period in 2006, from May through October.

The crew of San Bernardino National Forest Engine 57 was overrun while defending an isolated home in the San Jacinto Mountains, about 90 miles east of Los Angeles.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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