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John West Juvenile Arsonist And Family Leave Town

MADERA – The juvenile who started 13 fires in the John West Road area of Oakhurst in 2014 appeared with his family in Madera Superior Court today, with bags packed.

Immediately following a court hearing this morning, where he faced charges of violating last November’s court orders, the teenage arsonist and his family left the county and moved to southern California.

In violation of the terms of his probation, the minor was charged with engaging in inappropriate activities, such as taking pictures and being in close proximity to the recent Willow Fire. He was remanded to the custody of his father and grandmother, and placed on house arrest, electronic monitoring, and given a curfew during the evening and night hours. He was ordered not to leave his residence prior to today’s court appearance.

District Attorney David Linn stated that the existing orders against the minor have been extended and include a year-and-a-half probation and psychological counseling.

“We will be checking on his progress, but as long as there are no problems, then we are done with him,” said Linn. “We have some review dates, but I doubt that he will ever come back; he is gone from the county for good.”

If the minor ever returns to Madera County he will immediately be placed on house arrest with electronic monitoring. The southern California county and Madera County will review the minor’s continuing progress, along with his future therapy sessions, and determine whether he continues to comply with all Madera County court orders.

The string of fires in the John West/Jean Road area led to frayed nerves, evacuations, and a community that banded together to catch the minor who was terrorizing their neighborhood.

The fires started in late May 2014, and continued into September when the teen was observed in the area of a fire on Jean Road West and Scott Road. Cameras installed in the John West/Jean Road area reportedly captured images that led investigators to focus in on the then-15-year-old, who lived on the road where most of the fires took place.

The suspect was arrested on Friday, Sept. 26, when Cal Fire executed a search warrant on his home.

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