East Bay Man is Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison for Conspiracy to Commit Arson in Connection with Scheme to Firebomb People on His Enemies List
SAN FRANCISCO – David Jah was sentenced today to 216 months in prison for conspiracy to commit arson, in connection with a scheme to firebomb the properties of several people on his enemies list, announced Acting United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds; United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge, San Francisco Division, Patrick T. Gorman; and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair. The sentence was handed down by the Honorable William H. Alsup, U.S. District Judge.
"When Mr. Jah was unable to achieve his objectives in court, he turned to violence,” said Acting U.S Attorney Hinds. “That is never acceptable. Upholding the rule of law and the safety of the community is of the utmost importance, which is why we will continue to aggressively investigate and punish those who attempt to impede justice through violent intimidation.”
“Arson is a dangerous act of violence which poses a significant threat to the community,” said Special Agent in Charge Gorman. “ATF continuously works diligently toward securing public safety. The defendant in this case conspired to commit horrific acts of violence on unsuspecting members of this community. I am thankful that no one was seriously injured or killed as a result of these crimes. This sentencing will undoubtedly send a message to anyone who considers conducting these types of violent acts that they will not be tolerated. ATF will continue to work alongside our law enforcement partners to ensure crimes of this nature are investigated and prosecuted.”
"David Jah conspired to use extreme levels of violence to intimidate and retaliate against his perceived enemies. Thanks to the collaboration between the FBI, ATF, and our local law enforcement partners, we were able to put a stop to these violent attacks," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Craig Fair.
According to the evidence submitted at trial, Jah, 47, of Concord, conspired with Kristopher Alexis-Clark, 27, of Vallejo, and Dennis Williams, 41, of Fairfield, to conduct multiple firebombings targeting the residences of people on Jah's enemies list. The list contained the addresses of six individuals who Jah believed had wronged him, including the following:
• Two attorneys involved in the sale of his childhood home, to which Jah objected.
• The attorney who prosecuted the forcible detainer action removing Jah from his childhood home.
• The purchaser of Jah's childhood home.
• Jah's former neighbor at that home, with whom Jah had had several disagreements.
• A San Francisco Deputy City Attorney who represented the San Francisco Police Department in an excessive force lawsuit filed by Jah's son.
The evidence at trial demonstrated that the charged conspiracy began in October 2018, when Jah met a prostitute on a mobile dating application, who put him in touch with Alexis-Clark. Jah then provided the enemies list to Alexis-Clark, who recruited Williams to join the scheme. Over the next three weeks, Alexis-Clark and Williams drove by three of the homes on Jah’s enemies list in the middle of the night and attempted to throw Molotov cocktails through their windows. According to text messages found on Jah’s phone, Jah offered them $800 to $5,000 to carry out these attacks.
Hours before the first attack, Jah instructed an associate of his to send a text message to Alexis-Clark that read: “Light it up, call when done completely.” Shortly thereafter, on October 21, 2018, Alexis-Clark and Williams mistakenly firebombed the next-door neighbor of one of the intended victims by throwing a lit Molotov cocktail through the front window of their home, setting the living room on fire.
Then, on October 31, 2018, all three co-conspirators met in a casino in Pacheco to discuss further attacks. A few days later, on November 3, 2018, Alexis-Clark and Williams firebombed the homes of two more victims.
Aside from the three arson attacks carried out by Alexis-Clark and Williams, the jury heard evidence of two additional prior Molotov cocktail attacks against individuals on Jah’s enemies list. In addition, in its sentencing memorandum, the government requested that the court also consider evidence that Jah had orchestrated four additional arson attacks (for a total nine arson attacks) as well as two drive-by shootings over the period from March 2016 through November 2018. The attacks occurred throughout the Bay Area at addresses in San Francisco, Lafayette, Danville, and Oakland. The government’s sentencing memorandum provides a description of each of Jah’s attacks. According to the government, no one was seriously hurt, but the absence of physical injuries was “solely due to the incompetence of the men [Jah] hired to carry out these attacks.”
The evidence showed that Jah orchestrated these attacks in an attempt to punish and intimidate those he held responsible for removing him from his childhood home in the Richmond District of San Francisco.
According to the memorandum, Jah explained in a social media post that, at least with respect to one of his victims, his intention was to “terrorize.” The sentencing memorandum also argues that, after arranging for the attacks, Jah took multiple steps to impede the administration of justice by, among other things, intimidating his co-defendants to give false testimony, and directing one co-defendant to sign a declaration falsely denying he conspired with Jah.
On October 29, 2020, a federal grand jury issued a second superseding indictment charging Jah with one count of conspiring to commit arson, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 844(i) and (n). On May 13, 2021, after a week-long trial, a federal jury found Jah guilty of the charge.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Alsup also sentenced the defendant to a 3-year term of supervised release. The defendant has been in federal custody since January of 2019 and will begin serving the prison term immediately.
Alexis-Clark and Williams both have pleaded guilty to, but have not yet been sentenced for, crimes regarding their respective roles in the scheme.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kevin Rubino and Kevin Barry are prosecuting this case with assistance from Ralph Banchstubbs. The prosecution results from an investigation by the ATF and FBI with help from the police departments of San Francisco, Vallejo, Lafayette, Tiburon, and Danville.