During the Old Fire investigation, Fowler never said he was the one who lit a road flare near Waterman Canyon on Oct. 25, 2003, despite efforts by authorities to get him to confess.
On Wednesday in San Bernardino Superior Court, defense attorney Donald Jordan played an audio recording from the 2006 interview between Fowler and sheriff's officials. The last time Fowler had been interviewed by the agency was in 2004.
Sgt. David Burgess, who testified Wednesday, was a detective at the time of the 2006 interview. He and sheriff's Sgt. Frank Bell questioned Fowler for a final time before the case was turned over to the District Attorney's Office.
In the recorded interview played in court, Burgess told Fowler that new evidence had come to light that painted a different picture than the one Fowler had given two years before.
"We're just about to finish this case and submit it to the DA, so we had a couple of questions we wanted to clear up," Burgess told Fowler.
The detective also told Fowler that a witness saw someone get out of a van and light the Old Fire with a flare. That witness later circled Fowler's booking photo when asked to identify a suspect, Burgess said during the interview.
Burgess told Fowler that officials have him "just about completely" admitting to starting the Old Fire during a conversation he had with his great aunt while in custody.
"It's tape recorded and I've got a verbatim transaction of that," Burgess told Fowler.
"Love to see that one," Fowler replied.
The witness who had come forward and picked Fowler out of a lineup as the fire starter? Fabricated, Burgess said Wednesday.
The recorded conversation between Fowler and his great aunt where he supposedly admitted to starting the Old Fire? A lie.
"I was expecting to see specific responses from the suspect," Burgess said.
Fowler, 30, of San Bernardino, is suspected of starting the 2003 Old Fire that burned more than 91,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,000 structures. The fire cost nearly $38million.
The defendant is charged with five counts of murder and special circumstances, which allow prosecutors to pursue the death penalty if he is convicted. Prosecutors say five residents in burn areas died from heart attacks caused by the stress of evacuation and threats to homes and belongings.
Fowler has pleaded not guilty.
"The closest I ever came to lighting a fire in my life is when I was about 8 years old and I shot a flare or something and put it in a gopher hole in my backyard and I lit the whole backyard on fire," Fowler said while talking to sheriff's deputies in 2006.
"So you're 8 years old and you light your backyard on fire with a road flare?" Bell asked. "Do you think it was a coincidence that the fire you lit was the exact same way the Old Fire was lit?"
"I'm getting too wrapped up in it," Fowler replied.
Fowler told Burgess and Bell that he was 99percent sure he didn't start the Old Fire.
"Is that the same as saying, `I'm 1percent sure I did?"' Bell asked.
"I didn't light it," Fowler said. "I see where you're going."
Testimony relating to the Old Fire investigation is expected to continue today.