SAN BERNARDINO - Suspected Old Fire arsonist Rickie Lee Fowler has told investigators that three other men were with him when the massive wildfire started, but prosecutors say only Fowler will face charges.

One of the men, Martin Valdez Jr., has been dead for years. But Deputy District Attorney Vic Stull told the San Bernardino County Grand Jury in October that Fowler's credibility issues prevented prosecutions against other names that surfaced in the investigation, such Martin Valdez Sr., Jimmy Ray Hernandez and Dean Raef.

The revelation came to light in transcripts of Grand Jury hearings recently ordered publicly released by Superior Court Judge Michael A. Smith. The hearings lead to the Grand Jury's indictment of Fowler on Oct. 8.

In the transcripts, a grand juror questions prosecutors about the sole prosecution against Fowler.

"Clearly he identifies Valdez as being in the car and a fourth person, he jumps back and forth to Billy Ray and Dean," Juror No. 4 asked Stull. "Why are there no other names on this indictment?"

Evidence that connects any of the other persons to the Old Fire comes from Fowler, Stull explained. If prosecutors were to indict others, the primary star witness would be Fowler, he said.

"Based on the transcripts we have read, it is - it is the opinion of District Attorney's Office that he would not be a credible enough witness to sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt. That's the way we look at it."

Prosecutors said there will most likely be no other persons indicted in the Old Fire unless additional evidence surfaces.

"We don't file these cases unless we believe we can obtain a conviction by a jury at a trial," Stull told the grand jury.

Fowler's lawyer Donald Jordan objected in court to the release of the transcripts, saying information contained within them would prejudice his client and impact his ability to receive a fair trial.

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. Five men died of stress-related heart attacks.

Prosecutors charged Fowler, 28, with five counts of murder, arson charges and special circumstances which make the case eligible for the death penalty.

In his last interview with investigtors, Fowler said 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.

Fowler told authorities 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.

The defendant further said that he held out the flare and that one of the men with him, Valdez Jr., grabbed, struck and threw it into the brush. Valdez Jr. was shot and killed in Muscoy three years ago.

But a witness, Gabriel Padilla, only saw one man at the back of the van. Prosecutors also believe Fowler started the fire, given his mental state of having animosity and anger towards Aylward for kicking the defendant out of his house.

"Certainly, his intent is to start a fire," Stull told the grand jury in his closing remarks. "Why we believe he did it himself, which is the best evidence that coincides with what Mr. Padilla saw and testified about."

Fowler is scheduled to appear again March 30 in San Bernardino Superior Court.