Wildfire Suspect Charged in Heart Attack 'Murders'

Unusual case links arson to deaths
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Oct 23, 2009 4:13 AM CDT
Flames roar up a hill in San Bernardino, Calif., earlier this month. A man suspected of setting a fire in the same area in 2003 has been charged with murder in connection with 5 heart attack deaths.   (AP Photo/Mike Meadows)
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(Newser) – California officials have taken the unusual step of charging a wildfire arson suspect with murder in the death of 5 people who suffered heart attacks escaping the flames. Prosecutors intend to prove the stress of the fire caused the deaths in the massive 2003 San Bernardino blaze. The groundbreaking case will be complicated by the fact that the victims had a history of heart disease, reports AP. The suspect is already in prison on a burglary conviction.