San Francisco, California - David Jah and Kristopher Alexis-Clark were charged with conspiracy to commit arson, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson, United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”) Special Agent in Charge Rayfield Roundtree, and Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) Special Agent in Charge John Bennett. Alexis-Clark also was charged with attempted arson and possession of a destructive device.
The defendants were charged in a federal criminal complaint filed on February 22, 2019, and unsealed Tuesday. According to the affidavit filed in support of the complaint, Jah, 45, of Concord, and Alexis-Clark, 24, of Vallejo, conspired to use Molotov cocktails to firebomb two residences in Contra Costa County. The targeted residences, one in Danville and the other in Lafayette, belong to attorneys who previously had been involved in civil litigation involving real estate in which Jah claimed to have an interest. Both residences were hit with Molotov cocktails in the early morning hours of November 3, 2018, and the Danville residence was the target of another Molotov cocktail in March 2016. Although there was property damage at the two residences, no physical injuries were reported. The affidavit further alleges Jah and Alexis-Clark began coordinating and discussing the attacks in October 2018 and that Alexis-Clark used his own vehicle to travel to the two residences that were firebombed. Alexis-Clark allegedly agreed to participate in the firebombings in exchange for financial compensation from Jah.
The criminal complaint charges Jah and Alexis-Clark with conspiring to commit arson, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(n). Alexis-Clark also is charged with attempted arson, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(i), and possession of a destructive device, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 5861(c).
Alexis-Clark appeared in San Francisco before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero this morning. Magistrate Judge Spero scheduled his next appearance for February 27, 2019, at 9:30 a.m., for identification of counsel. Jah is currently in federal custody on unrelated charges. His next scheduled appearance in this case is before the Honorable William H. Alsup, U.S. District Judge, on March 5, 2019, for a status hearing.
A complaint merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the defendants face a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of 20 years, as well as a fine of $250,000 for the conspiracy charge. Alexis-Clark also faces an additional five year minimum and 20 years maximum in prison and $250,000 for the attempted arson charge as well as an additional 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000 for the possession of an illegal destructive device charge. Further, the court may order additional periods of supervised release, fines, and restitution; however, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Rodriguez is prosecuting this case with assistance from Kimberly Richardson. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the ATF and FBI with assistance from the police departments of San Francisco, Vallejo, Lafayette, and Danville.