MADERA — A serial arsonist who terrorized Yosemite Lakes Park six years ago has once again been denied parole.
Earlier this month (Sept. 9), Kenneth Jackson’s petition for early release was rejected by the Board of Parole Hearings.
The blazes, which occurred over a five-week period leading up to the couple’s arrest, created anxiety and fear for the residents of YLP, according to the Superior Court judge who originally sentenced the couple.
“The residents were vulnerable, and these crimes involved planning and sophistication,” said Judge Dale Blea. “There were significant costs for suppression of these fires — and a significant danger to the community.”
Waterman served time for her role in the arson fires and was released in June 2018.
Jackson, convicted of 13 counts of arson, is currently serving a 20-year sentence at Solano State Prison in Vacaville.
Under California state law, he is eligible for review under the Nonviolent Offender Parole Review Process, “which means he can be released from prison after serving much less than 20 years,” Madera County District Attorney Sally Moreno warned this week on the DA’s Facebook page.
The Board of Parole Hearings has reviewed Jackson’s eligibility for early parole every year since 2017 — and the Madera County District Attorney’s Office has successfully opposed his release each time.
Moreno said the District Attorney’s position has been supported by “dozens of letters” from citizens of Madera County, who wrote the DA to express their concerns about Jackson’s potential early release.
“The District Attorney’s Office would like to thank all of the citizens of Madera County who wrote letters opposing Mr. Jackson’s release, as it was critical in keeping a dangerous criminal incarcerated and keeping the mountain area of Madera County safe,” Moreno said.
“We do anticipate Mr. Jackson being considered for early parole in 2020,” the DA added.
“That this type of arson is not considered a violent crime reflects a lack of understanding on the part of the majority of California lawmakers,” District Attorney Moreno said. “In [November] 2020, there is going to be a ballot initiative called the ‘Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act of 2020’ that seeks to change” the way individuals convicted of crimes like Jackson’s are sentenced.
More information on that ballot initiative, the DA added, is available at https://keepcalsafe.org/.