MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE) – Fury from Madera County District Attorney Sally Moreno on Friday after she received a letter notifying her that convicted arsonist Kenneth Allen Jackson would be released from prison next week.
“This is an outrage. I’m angry. This is wrong, and this should not be happening,” Moreno said.
Jackson was sentenced in 2014 for sparking a number of fires at Yosemite Lakes Park in 2013.
Moreno said Jackson’s 30-year sentence has been reduced over the years. She wants more transparency from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).
“There’s no way anybody expected him to get out of custody now after serving only eight years,” Moreno said. “Here we are, it’s fire season. We just got done fighting the River Fire and now CDCR is releasing a wildfire arsonist back into our community, among us. This is not how the system should work.”
While Moreno said she doesn’t think Gov. Gavin Newsom will intervene and stop the release of Jackson, she said they can try to prevent him from being released in Madera County.
Moreno asked Jackson’s arson victims to go to the Yosemite Rivers Park Community Church to sign forms to prevent his release in the county. Several residents showed up.
“We became kind of paranoid because we were constantly looking out the window to watch for another fire. It was terrifying,” Yosemite Lakes Park resident Janet Morita said, as she described those weeks in 2013.
Robert McDonough was also among the residents who signed the form.
“You never really knew when it was going to be in your backyard. So it was being on edge all the time and worried about not only your property and pets – but your life,” McDonough said.
McDonough is now hoping Jackson isn’t released into the area.
“While I have empathy and sympathy for someone getting out of prison, I think they can find someone else or someplace else rather be in their own stomping grounds. We’ve had enough.”
In a statement, State Senator Anna Caballero said she was deeply troubled to hear that Jackson, would be released.
Jackson not only caused significant damage, but terrorized and devastated his victims. His release is cause for concern, especially as we are entering wildfire season and are in the midst of a drought. My office is taking this seriously, and is communicating with CDCR and the Governor’s office in support of the petition circulated by victims and residents to relocate Jackson.Senator Anna M. Caballero, (D) Salinas