MADERA – The case of Kenneth Jackson, 46, who was sentenced to 30 years and 8 months in prison on Aug. 8, 2014, for 21 counts of arson, was back before a judge this morning for resentencing after the Fifth District Court of Appeal reversed 8 of the convictions due to “insufficient evidence.”
Jackson was arrested along with his wife Alice Waterman on June 25, 2013, following a month-long investigation into a rash of suspicious fires in the Yosemite Lakes Park (YLP) area over the five weeks leading up to their arrest.
On May 1, 2014, both were found guilty by a jury – Jackson on 21 of the 31 arson counts with which he was charged, and also conspiracy, battery and resisting arrest. He was sentenced to 30 years and 8 months in prison and was eligible for parole in July 2017, but was denied and remains behind bars in California State Prison in Solano.
Waterman was found guilty on six counts of arson, and also of conspiracy. She received a sentence of 10 years and 8 months, but with extra time credits for months served while awaiting trial, she was released in June 2018.
On Aug. 29, 2014, the couple filed an appeal to their convictions with the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Fresno. On July 17, 2018, the court reversed for “insufficient evidence” 8 of the 21 counts of arson for which Jackson had been convicted, and 2 of the 6 counts for Waterman.
Waterman was resentenced in Madera Superior Court on Mar. 18 by Judge Dale Blea, who presided over the trial in 2014. Waterman has already served her time for the crimes for which she was originally sentenced, and remains out of custody.
Jackson’s case was back in court today before Judge Blea, who did not accept the Probation Department’s recommendation of a lighter sentence. Judge Blea stated that Jackson and his wife had caused anxiety and fear for the residents of YLP during the month in which they started numerous fires.
“The residents were vulnerable, and these crimes involved planning and sophistication,” said Judge Blea. “There were significant costs for suppression of these fires, and a significant danger to the community.”
Jackson declined to be transported from his prison cell in Solano for today’s sentencing, so Judge Blea proceeded in his absence, and sentenced him to 20 years.