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American Scene: Wildfire arsonist guilty of 5 heart attack deaths
Question of the Day
SAN BERNARDINO — A jury on Wednesday found a California man guilty of murdering five people who had heart attacks after he deliberately started a blaze that ballooned into a massive wildfire.
Jurors in San Bernardino found Rickie Fowler, 30, guilty of setting the Old Fire in the foothills above San Bernardino in October 2003. It burned 91,000 acres and torched 1,000 buildings over nine days.
Prosecutors charged Fowler with the murders of five men, ranging in age from 54 to 93, who died from heart attacks after their homes burned to the ground or as they rushed to evacuate. Fowler also was convicted of two counts of arson with special circumstances that make him eligible for the death penalty.
That phase of the proceedings is scheduled to begin Monday.
Police: Burglar made off with Steve Jobs‘ wallet
PALO ALTO — The burglar who broke into Steve Jobs‘ house made off with the Apple Inc. co-founder’s wallet with $1 inside and his driver’s license in addition to Apple gadgets and jewelry, according to a police report released Tuesday.
The details of the July 17 theft and the suspect’s alleged confession were reported Tuesday by the San Jose Mercury News.
The suspect, Kariem McFarlin, 35, targeted the unoccupied Palo Alto home because it was under renovation, authorities said. When construction crews left, he hopped a fence and found a spare key, according to the report. Mr. McFarlin apparently realized he was in Jobs‘ house when he saw a letter addressed to him.
Also taken in the 15-hour overnight heist were iPhones, iPads, iPods, Mac computers, Cristal Champagne and $60,000 worth of Tiffany & Co. jewelry. Mr. McFarlin sold the jewelry to a dealer online and gave the iPads to a daughter and a friend, according to the report.
Mr. McFarlin was arrested at his Alameda home earlier this month after Apple investigators identified him after he connected to the Internet on the stolen devices with his iTunes account, police said.
Human body parts found in sewer
STERLING HEIGHTS — Contractors found about a dozen pieces of human flesh and other body parts Wednesday while they were clearing debris in a sanitary sewer pipe 50 feet below a busy suburban Detroit road.
Workers stumbled upon the parts about 8:30 a.m. while beginning their daily work in the 9-foot-6-inch-wide pipe in Sterling Heights.
“It’s not like there were arms or legs; it was small pieces,” said Sterling Heights Police Lt. Luke Riley. “One of the pieces has what appears to be part of a tattoo.”
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