But new details about the victims, six men whose deaths have been linked to the massive blaze, were revealed when a Superior Court judge granted a newspaper's request Tuesday to publicly release transcripts from recent San Bernardino County Grand Jury hearings.
Those hearings culminated in the Grand Jury's Oct. 8 indictment of Fowler, who is charged with five counts of murder, arson charges and special circumstances which make the case eligible for the death penalty.
Prosecutors say five of the deaths occurred as stress-related heart attacks to people who were dealing with the stress of evacuation and threats to homes and belongings.
"When you take these collectively ... it's hard not to conclude my opinion that there's a relationship between the fire and the deaths," testified Dr. Frank Sheridan, the county's medical examiner, before the Grand Jury.
The sixth man died in a fall after trying to hike past law enforcement barricades to a mountain area home.
The Old Fire ignited Oct. 25, 2003, in Old Waterman Canyon, burned more than 91,000 acres and consumed 940 homes from Del Rosa to Cedar Glen. Prosecutors have not yet announced whether they will seek the death penalty.
Fowler has told Sheriff's detectives that he was in a van with three other men in the Old Waterman Canyon area on the day of the fire. He wanted to rob a man he saw as his godfather, John Aylward.
"Once they got there, they realized they were too drunk and/or high to pull off a robbery. So they drove about halfway down the Waterman Canyon Road, where they parked and continued to get high," Sgt. Frank Bell testified.
The suspect told investigators he was upset with Aylward, went to the back of the van, grabbed a flare and suggested instead to burn Aylward's house, according to prosecutors.
Fowler further said he held out a flare that one of the men with him, Marty Valdez Jr., grabbed, struck and threw into the brush. Valdez was shot and killed in Muscoy three years ago.
Here is some additional information about the victims:
Charles Howard Cunningham
Cunningham, 93, was standing in the 25300 block of Toluca Drive in San Bernardino watching his house burn when he collapsed. He was transported to St. Bernardine's Medical Center in San Bernardino, where he arrived in full cardiac arrest.
Hospital personnel pronounced Cunningham dead shortly after his arrival.
An autopsy revealed Cunningham had artherosclerotic disease of the heart, better known as narrowing of the arteries. The disease affected his coronary arteries, one of the valves in the heart and the blood vessles going to his brain.
James William McDermith
Kim Emery testified that she lived with her mother father, James McDermith, in Highland at the time. McDermith, 70, had suffered a heart attack several years earlier and he was allergic to smoke.
Emery got off work around noon, and the fire was a couple of miles from the family's back fence. Her father showed no reaction to the fire.
But when the fire got closer, the family started packing up belongings. McDermith left to pick up the family's fifth wheel.
As mother and daughter walked out of the home, Emery went back in to get some forgotten things.
"While I was in the house, the hospital called and said that we needed to go to the hospital emergency room," said the victim's daughter. "And it had to do with James McDermith."
She went to the hospital but did not see her father. He had died.
Ralph Eugene McWilliams
Dolores Boron testified that McWilliams, 67, of Crest Park, was a very good friend of her family since 1992. They were co-workers and had developed a close friendship.
McWilliams had suffered a stroke years before the fire, but he had recovered. The day of the fire, Boron called McWilliams, who said he was having trouble breathing.
Boron took McWilliams to Mountain Community Hospital in Lake Arrowhead. From there, McWilliams was moved to Kaiser Hospital in Riverside and then to an evacuation center in San Bernardino.
"He was kind of weak, and he was on oxygen," Boron said. "Just a little tired, upset about the whole thing of being evacuated."
After a week, McWilliams told Boron he couldn't take being at the evacuation center any more. He was taken to a nearby church but was soon back at a hospital.
Robert Norman Taylor
Trisha Webster testified that her father, Taylor, 54, had lost his home, on Garden Drive in San Bernardino, of the first day of the Old Fire.
Webster said her father had high blood pressure but no other health problems. Her 16-year-old sister and 19-year-old brother lived with her father, at the time.
The first night, the family stayed with in-laws. But the next day, the family moved in with Webster at her nearby home.
"At first, it seemed okay. He kept telling me everything would be okay," Webster said. As the week went on, Taylor was tired, wasn't sleeping and began having pain in his arms.
"He was withdrawn. He kept walking back over and sitting in the front yard," Webster continued.
On Oct. 31, Webster said her father just wanted to be left alone.
"The next morning, he woke up and said he wanted chocolate doughnuts," said Webster. "And the next thing I know, he was screaming for me to call an ambulance. It happened so fast."
An ambulance took Taylor to the hospital.
"His eyes - I know when he left my house, his eyes had changed colors, like a white," Webster said. "That's all I remember. By the time I got there, he was gone."
Chad Leo Williams
When the Old Fire erupted, Victor Williams said he got a call from a friend about the fire. In turn, Williams made a few phone calls to his father, a retired firefighter who lived about four miles from him in Crestline.
On the first call, Chad Williams was unaware of the fire. But on the second call, he was listening to a police scanner in the garage.
"We were trying to figure out how close the thing was to us," Victor Williams said. By the third phone call, Victor Williams said his father had driven to the rim, saw the fire and returned home.
"When I talked to him, he said, `It's bad. We are packing. We're leaving," the victim's son said.
Chad Williams, 70, wasn't a very emotional person and didn't get too excited when he saw fire, his son said. The last time he talked with his father was between 10 a.m. and noon.
Harold Edwin Rathbun
Krystal Blair told the grand jury her family was moving when the Old Fire forced their evacuation. Blair, her husband the 43-year-old Rathbun and her daughter were moving from Crestline to Lake Arrowhead.
The family had taken a few loads to the new house, and they had stuff at both locations in boxes - inside and outside of the houses.
Authorities issued a mandatory evacuation. Blair said they left everything and went to stay with her aunt in Phelan.
"He was pretty much fighting it tooth and nail," Blair said. "He ended up going, but he was very reluctant. He did not want to leave."
Rathbun talked of going back despite the mandatory evacuation and objections from his family and friends.
At one point, he took his cell phone and started hiking. Sometime after midnight Nov. 1, Rathbun told Blair he was passing the last checkpoint.
Blair didn't hear from Rathbun again. Authorities later found his body in the Sawpit Canyon area, where they said he tried to cross a bridge, slipped and fell to his death.
In the end, both of the houses and all of the family's property was unharmed.