- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 18, 2009

RIVERSIDE, CALIF. (AP) - A verdict has been reached in the penalty phase of the trial of a man convicted of murdering five federal firefighters who were overrun by a wildfire he ignited in Southern California in 2006.

The verdict against 38-year-old Raymond Lee Oyler was to be read Wednesday afternoon in Riverside County Superior Court. The jury began deliberating the previous afternoon.

Prosecutors asked the jury to recommend the death penalty. The defense argued that the deaths were not intentional and that Oyler should get life in prison without possibility of parole.

Oyler was convicted of five counts of first-degree murder, 20 counts of arson and 17 counts of using an incendiary device.

The victims were the crew of San Bernardino National Forest Engine 57.

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