The LAPD and Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Monday night rescued a man who had been kidnapped earlier in Van Nuys. Here’s the top of our story:
EASTVALE – A SWAT team from Los Angeles Police Department rescued a kidnapped man from a house full of narcotics in this unincorporated community in western Riverside County.
The kidnap victim, according to the LAPD spokesman, was apparently taken from the area of Van Nuys on Wednesday. No further details were given about the identity of the man or why he was kidnapped.
Police said he was injured but apparently not as a result of the rescue.
The police SWAT team surrounded the residence in the 6900 block of Delaware River Road.
In cooperation with Riverside County sheriff’s deputies, they stormed the house about 6:30 p.m., according to witnesses.
A jury has recommended the death penalty for Raymond Oyler, the man convicted of intentionally lighting several SoCal wildfires in 2006, including the deadly Esparanza Fire in October, which claimed the lives of five firefighters.
The Associated Press reports:
RIVERSIDE — A jury recommended the death penalty Wednesday for a
man convicted of murdering five federal firefighters who were overrun by one of several wildfires he ignited in Southern California in 2006.
Jurors took less than a day to decide that Raymond Lee Oyler deserved to die.
Prosecutors cited the horrific pain the fire crew suffered and the terror the auto mechanic’s
fires caused in rural areas of Riverside County.
Outside court, Maria Loutzenhiser, the wife of slain fire Capt. Mark Loutzenhiser, thanked jurors and prosecutors “for putting an end to everybody’s misery and giving everybody peace of mind.”
“I’m grateful they put Oyler in jail and that he’s there and he can’t do this anymore,” she
Oyler, 38, was convicted of five counts of first-degree murder, 20 counts of arson and 17 counts of using an incendiary device.
Jurors began penalty phase deliberations Tuesday afternoon.
The jury foreman, who declined to give his name, said the two-month trial was an emotional ordeal but the evidence showed Oyler’s guilt and helped persuade the panel he should get the death penalty.
“There were more tears today than any other day,” he said. “It’s not an easy decision to
The foreman choked back tears as he recalled some of the testimony from family members. He hugged several of them outside court.
At sentencing, set for April 3, Judge W. Charles Morgan still could give Oyler the punishment the defense had urged jurors to choose: life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Oyler’s daughter echoed his lawyers’ claim that her father never intended to kill anyone.
“That was not in his mind. My dad is not this monster they paint him to be,” 21-year-old Heather Oyler said outside the courtroom.
Prosecutor Michael Hestrin told jurors in closing arguments of the trial’s penalty phase that
Oyler was not a casual arsonist but instead sought the power to end people’s lives.
Oyler was convicted of setting numerous fires in rural areas of Riverside County in 2006.
The fatal blaze, known as the Esperanza Fire, roared to life that October as fierce Santa Ana
winds swept through valleys and mountains about 90 miles east of Los Angeles.
The crew of San Bernardino National Forest Engine 57 was overwhelmed after deploying
to protect an unoccupied house perched at the top of a steep drainage in the San Jacinto
Three firefighters died there and a fourth died soon after at a hospital. The fifth died five
days later, the same day Oyler was arrested.
Prosecutors showed jurors graphic photos of the firefighters: Jason McKay, 27; Jess McLean, 27; Daniel Hoover-Najera, 20; Pablo Cerda, 23, and Loutzenhiser, 43.
Judge Morgan previously ruled Oyler mentally competent after an evaluation by a
*Photo courtesy of the Associated Press