RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A California man was sentenced to death on Friday for setting a hillside inferno in 2006 that killed five United States Forest Service firefighters.
The penalty had been recommended by the jury that convicted the man, Raymond Lee Oyler, 38, of murder and arson in March.
In imposing the sentence, Judge W. Charles Morgan of the Superior Court in Riverside County said that Mr. Oyler had “set on a mission — why? no one knows — to create havoc in this county by setting fires of his own design, for his own purpose.”
Judge Morgan added, “He knew young men and young women would put their lives on the line to protect property and people.”
Mr. Oyler remained silent and stared straight ahead as the judge announced the sentence.
Federal and state fire officials said they believed this was the first time the death penalty had been given in a wildfire a
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