Daily Archives: September 9, 2012

Arson, Heart Attacks, and the Manner of Death

Back in May, I discussed the issue of Cause and Manner of death and the two killers who went to trial for murder when their victim died 30 years after the initial attack. The victim died from “natural causes” but the cascade of events that led to his death began with the assault by the two defendants.

In a slightly different situation, but one that weighs equally on the manner of death, Rickie Fowler has been convicted of the murder of five people who died from fatal heart attacks. But aren’t heart attacks natural events? How could he be guilty of murder?


Back in 2003 in San Bernardino County, CA, dear old Rickie decided to set the countryside ablaze by driving around the drought-dried hillsides and tossing flaming objects out the window of his vehicle. Here in California we deal with these morons every fire season. The result of Rickie’s little spree was a nine-day fire that consumed 91,000 acres, more than 1000 buildings, and the five heart attack victims, who suffered their fatal events while trying to escape the flames.


Sure heart attacks are natural, but the inciting event in the death of each was their fear, anxiety, stress, and physical activity as they rushed away from the conflagration. If not for the fire, the heart attacks would not likely have occurred. At least not on that day. A jury agreed and convicted Rickie on all five counts.


Posted by on September 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

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