Yosemite Lakes Park arsonist eligible for parole under Prop 57

MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Madera County arsonist convicted of a string of fires in Yosemite Lakes Park could be eligible for parole and that has many people concerned.

Kenneth Jackson was sentenced to 30 years in prison back in 2014. But now he is being considered for early parole and that worries those who watched their neighborhood burn.

Residents of Yosemite Lakes Park will never forget that two month period in 2013 when 30 fires broke out in their community.

Babs Stern recalled, "Oh it was horrible because we couldn't figure out why. It was just very terrorizing."

Kenneth Jackson and his wife Alice Waterman were convicted and then sentenced for setting 21 fires.

Waterman has served her sentence but under Prop 57, Jackson is up for his third Nonviolent Offender Parole Review Process.

It's now become an annual battle.

Madera County District Attorney Sally Moreno explained, "That's what really gets the people in Yosemite Lakes Park, really all of eastern Madera County and me too, that this crime, serial arson like this is defined as non-violent."

Moreno prosecuted the Kenneth Jackson case in 2014. The county was able to block his parole twice but an uneasy feeling has settled over the peaceful Yosemite Lakes Park area.,

Stern said, It's very scary to think that he could be out again free, driving around as usual."

Moreno's office has received letters from a few dozen residents urging authorities to keep Jackson locked up.

The letters will be used for a document review as Madera County tries to keep him in state prison in Solano County.

Moreno said, "There's a psychological element to most serial arsonists that I think makes the public aware there's a heightened danger from people who don't have a problem repeatedly setting fires in wildlands."

Jackson had his sentence reduced on an appeal a year ago. Barring early parole, he is on track to be released in 2024.

Yosemite Lakes Park residents who wish to send a letter to the DA's office to urge authorities to keep Jackson in prison can email them to Yolanda.Cardenas@ maderacounty.com
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