Friday, January 9, 2009

Wildfire legal news roundup

Jury selection in Esperanza fire case

Jury selection begins Monday, January 12, for the trial for Raymond Lee Oyler, 38, who will be tried for intentionally setting the Esperanza fire that killed five members of the San Bernardino National Forest's Engine 57. Oyler will face the death penalty for the fire that also destroyed 39 homes and burned 43,000 acres.

Jury selection from the pool of 320 possible jurors will take about two weeks for the trial which could take three months.

Ex-Honolulu firefighter gets 10 years for arson

Earlier Wildfire Today covered the case of the ex-Honolulu firefighter, Kenton Leong (in photo on the right), who was charged with setting three brush fires, totaling 8 acres, last July after having smoked crystal methamphetamine earlier in the day. Leong has now pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree arson. He was sentenced Friday to 10 years behind bars.

Before he goes to prison Leong will undergo treatment for drug addiction. He was also ordered to pay $15,331 in restitution to the city for the costs of fighting the fires. He was fired from the fire department 4 months before the incident for failing drug tests.

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