The Los Angeles Times reports on the sentencing of Raymond Lee Oyler, the Esperanza Arsonist.
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."
What kind of fluky laws so they have in California these days. How could this result in the death penalty? I realize everybody is very angry at this guy, but I thought we were moving away from capital punishment, especially for the revenge motive.
Josh McClean , brother of one of the victims had this to say to the judge.
"He stole something from us that he cannot repay," he told the judge in the silent courtroom. "I hope, sir, that you sentence him to die for what he did to my brother because that is justice. There is nothing fair you can do to make this right, but you can give us a little closure."
Is Josh right? Is this justice? What's your opinion?
My opinion is that everyone involved in this case has lost their minds. The very understandable grief and the frightening prospect of what Oyler did has made everybody a little crazy.
Oyler was convicted March 6 of five counts of first-degree murder, 20 counts of arson and 17 counts of using an incendiary device. A jury called for the death penalty.
Prosecutors say he set a string of fires, as many as 25, throughout the San Gorgonio Pass in summer 2006. The fires, sometimes set day after day, steadily grew larger and more difficult to put out.
At about 1 a.m. on Oct. 26, 2006, with Santa Ana winds gusting hard, Oyler used a combination of matches and cigarettes to start a fire in Cabazon at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains.
Have they never heard of pyromania? Do they not acknowledge that a person operating under a sick compulsion, whether that is to shoot heroin or set fires, is not fully in control of himself? Is the need for "closure" and "justice" so great that they have to execute an obviously mentally ill defendant?
What's your opinion?