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Raymond Lee Oyler

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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 6, 2009 | David Kelly
Raymond Lee Oyler, the Beaumont mechanic convicted of setting the 2006 Esperanza fire that killed five firefighters, was sentenced to death Friday by a judge who said the serial arsonist had set out to "create havoc." "He became more and more proficient," said Riverside County Superior Court Judge W. Charles Morgan. "He knew young men and women would put their lives on the line to protect people and property, yet he continued anyway."
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 10, 2009 | Richard Simon
Los Angeles County's largest fire in modern history led a pair of California lawmakers Wednesday to step up efforts to win congressional approval of legislation that would set up a national system for tracking convicted arsonists. "We as Californians understand the incalculable damage that can be caused by wildfire, which makes it all the more essential that we do everything possible to prevent unnecessary and senseless disaster at the hand of an arsonist," said Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Palm Springs)
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 15, 2006 | Maeve Reston, Times Staff Writer
The incendiary device allegedly used to set the deadly wildfire that killed five firefighters in Riverside County three weeks ago was similar to devices used to set two earlier fires linked to suspected arsonist Raymond Lee Oyler, a court affidavit alleges. In all three fires, the arsonist set the blaze in the San Gorgonio Pass area by placing six or seven wooden matches atop a lighted cigarette, according to the court document.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 22, 2009 | David Kelly
The brother-in-law of convicted arsonist Raymond Lee Oyler, who was sentenced to death in June for setting the Esperanza fire in 2006 that killed five U.S. Forest Service firefighters, surrendered to authorities Friday after a warrant was issued for his arrest on seven charges of jury tampering. Christopher Vaughn Hill, 46, gave himself up to Corona police after fleeing investigators who arrived at his Hesperia home with a search warrant earlier this month. The Riverside County district attorney's office said that during Oyler's trial in February, Hill had put photocopies of a newspaper article on jurors' cars.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 11, 2009 | David Kelly
The man charged with setting a 2006 wildfire that killed five firefighters once trained as a volunteer firefighter in Banning, according to trial testimony Tuesday. Andrew Bennett, battalion chief with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said Raymond Lee Oyler spent three months training to be a firefighter but did not finish. Oyler, 38, faces the death penalty if convicted of setting the Esperanza fire near Cabazon. The blaze killed the firefighters as they tried to save a house in an isolated canyon.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 10, 2009 | Richard Simon
Los Angeles County's largest fire in modern history led a pair of California lawmakers Wednesday to step up efforts to win congressional approval of legislation that would set up a national system for tracking convicted arsonists. "We as Californians understand the incalculable damage that can be caused by wildfire, which makes it all the more essential that we do everything possible to prevent unnecessary and senseless disaster at the hand of an arsonist," said Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Palm Springs)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 20, 2009 | David Kelly
Riverside County prosecutors have filed jury tampering charges against the brother-in-law of Raymond Lee Oyler, who was convicted and sentenced to death this summer for setting the 2006 Esperanza fire that killed five U.S. Forest Service firefighters. Christopher Vaughn Hillman, 46, is charged with seven counts of jury tampering and remains at large, investigators said Wednesday. A warrant has been issued and a $10,000 reward has been offered for information leading to his arrest.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 3, 2006 | Maeve Reston, Jonathan Abrams and Sara Lin, Times Staff Writers
A 36-year-old auto mechanic from Beaumont was charged Thursday with arson and five counts of murder for allegedly setting last week's Esperanza fire, which killed five U.S. Forest Service firefighters and destroyed 34 homes in a remote mountain area of Riverside County. Convicted felon Raymond Lee Oyler has been in custody since Tuesday, when authorities arrested him on suspicion of setting two smaller blazes in June and announced that he was a "person of interest" in the fatal arson fire.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 19, 2009 | David Kelly
After barely a day of deliberation, a Riverside County jury on Wednesday returned a verdict of death for Raymond Lee Oyler for starting the 2006 Esperanza fire in the foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains that killed five firefighters, destroyed 34 homes and charred more than 41,000 acres. Firefighters and the families of the victims hailed the decision and said it offered a measure of justice for a crime they said had torn a hole in the fabric of their lives.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 27, 2009 | David Kelly
After more than a month of testimony, the trial of Raymond Lee Oyler ended Thursday with the prosecution describing the Beaumont mechanic as a murderer who set a killer wildfire for his own amusement and to satisfy a lust for power. The defense conceded that Oyler set 11 fires, just not the 2006 Esperanza fire that killed five firefighters. "Those five men were killed by a man who taught himself to use fire as a weapon," said Riverside County Deputy Dist. Atty. Michael Hestrin.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 20, 2009 | David Kelly
Riverside County prosecutors have filed jury tampering charges against the brother-in-law of Raymond Lee Oyler, who was convicted and sentenced to death this summer for setting the 2006 Esperanza fire that killed five U.S. Forest Service firefighters. Christopher Vaughn Hillman, 46, is charged with seven counts of jury tampering and remains at large, investigators said Wednesday. A warrant has been issued and a $10,000 reward has been offered for information leading to his arrest.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 6, 2009 | David Kelly
Raymond Lee Oyler, the Beaumont mechanic convicted of setting the 2006 Esperanza fire that killed five firefighters, was sentenced to death Friday by a judge who said the serial arsonist had set out to "create havoc." "He became more and more proficient," said Riverside County Superior Court Judge W. Charles Morgan. "He knew young men and women would put their lives on the line to protect people and property, yet he continued anyway."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 19, 2009 | David Kelly
After barely a day of deliberation, a Riverside County jury on Wednesday returned a verdict of death for Raymond Lee Oyler for starting the 2006 Esperanza fire in the foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains that killed five firefighters, destroyed 34 homes and charred more than 41,000 acres. Firefighters and the families of the victims hailed the decision and said it offered a measure of justice for a crime they said had torn a hole in the fabric of their lives.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 27, 2009 | David Kelly
After more than a month of testimony, the trial of Raymond Lee Oyler ended Thursday with the prosecution describing the Beaumont mechanic as a murderer who set a killer wildfire for his own amusement and to satisfy a lust for power. The defense conceded that Oyler set 11 fires, just not the 2006 Esperanza fire that killed five firefighters. "Those five men were killed by a man who taught himself to use fire as a weapon," said Riverside County Deputy Dist. Atty. Michael Hestrin.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 24, 2009 | David Kelly
The defense in the trial of Raymond Lee Oyler, charged with setting a wildfire that killed five firefighters, suffered a setback Friday when a judge rejected its plan to introduce a different suspect in the blaze. If convicted, Oyler, a 38-year-old Beaumont auto mechanic, would face the death penalty. Defense attorneys hoped to raise doubt about his guilt in the Esperanza fire by pointing to Michael McNeil, a former U.S.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 23, 2009 | David Kelly
Raymond Lee Oyler, who is charged with setting the October 2006 Esperanza fire that killed five firefighters, was a serial arsonist whose girlfriend once gave him an ultimatum to stop setting fires or she would leave him, prosecutors said Thursday. In opening statements at Oyler's trial, Riverside County Deputy Dist. Atty. Michael Hestrin told jurors that the 38-year-old auto mechanic had set more than 20 fires in the San Gorgonio Pass area in the months before the fatal blaze.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 23, 2009 | David Kelly
Raymond Lee Oyler, who is charged with setting the October 2006 Esperanza fire that killed five firefighters, was a serial arsonist whose girlfriend once gave him an ultimatum to stop setting fires or she would leave him, prosecutors said Thursday. In opening statements at Oyler's trial, Riverside County Deputy Dist. Atty. Michael Hestrin told jurors that the 38-year-old auto mechanic had set more than 20 fires in the San Gorgonio Pass area in the months before the fatal blaze.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 15, 2006 | Maeve Reston, Times Staff Writer
The incendiary device allegedly used to set the deadly wildfire that killed five firefighters in Riverside County three weeks ago was similar to devices used to set two earlier fires linked to suspected arsonist Raymond Lee Oyler, a court affidavit alleges. In all three fires, the arsonist set the blaze in the San Gorgonio Pass area by placing six or seven wooden matches atop a lighted cigarette, according to the court document.
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