Charges filed against West Seattle serial-arson suspect Jacob Kokko

(WSB photo: October 31, Senior Center fire)
3:46 PM: Five days after the arrest of 22-year-old Jacob Kokko in connection with the recent arsons in West Seattle, he is officially charged. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Kokko this afternoon with second-degree arson (a Class B felony), second-degree reckless burning (a gross misdemeanor), and third-degree malicious mischief (a gross misdemeanor). The charges specifically call out the two arsons in The Junction early Halloween morning – in dumpsters underneath the Senior Center of West Seattle and alongside the California/Alaska commercial building that houses businesses including Easy Street Records and Twilight Gallery – and a trash-can fire in the 6500 block of 34th SW, near his home, on October 12th.

(WSB photo: October 31, California/Alaska fire)
His bail remains set at $300,000, and he is scheduled to be arraigned (answer the charges) on November 23rd. On first look, the charging papers shine no further light on a motive, aside from Kokko telling detectives he did it because he “needed help.” As our research indicated, he has no apparent criminal history, prosecutors write, but they sought to keep the bail relatively high because “his unhinged behavior causes great concern for the safety of the community.” The Senior Center fire, in particular, could easily have spread to engulf the entire building, it’s pointed out.

Kokko was arrested last Thursday night, shortly after officers served a search warrant at his High Point home, saying they found evidence linking him to the fires. Court documents say someone who knows him recognized him in the surveillance video that shows the bus-stop fire on Morgan south of 35th being set October 12th; he is not charged in connection with that fire, though, nor with the October 18th Sylvan Ridge car arsons, or the October 19th High Point rental-office fire, or the October 21st 40th/Morgan recycling-bin fire.

ADDED 6:01 PM: Aside from the charges themselves, the information in the new documents is the same as what we reported after Kokko’s bail hearing – at which he did not appear – last Friday afternoon. He is said to have admitted to four fires, the three in which he is charged, and the bus-stop box fire which was recorded on video. He also is said to be on surveillance video setting the Senior Center fire, then walking away, and returning, apparently to be sure it was still going. Otherwise, the only other information we’ve learned about him, from separate research, is that he worked at a restaurant – not in West Seattle – and hadn’t lived here more than a few years; court files show that he was the subject of an eviction filing from an apartment on Avalon Way last summer.

14 Replies to "Charges filed against West Seattle serial-arson suspect Jacob Kokko"

  • Beto November 10, 2015 (5:29 pm)

    Sounds like Mr. Kokko is cuckoo…big time.

    • WSB November 10, 2015 (6:10 pm)

      Well, I honestly haven’t heard yet if there’s a competency issue. We’ll see at arraignment, if not sooner. – TR

  • Wait a minute November 10, 2015 (6:35 pm)

    As much as this person caused damage, induced great fear and posed
    a huge potential for loss of life, this case brings up the abysmal availability and focus on mental health care in this nation. I’d venture to guess that most crime stems from mental health or addiction motives, and good luck getting help. Glad he’s in a “system”, just wish we had had a better system to help those who are at risk before they cross the line to inflict injury to others, and clearly themselves.

  • sonic November 10, 2015 (8:33 pm)

    In the US, as far as I know, a mentally ill person or an addict cannot be forced into receiving any kind of mental health assistance unless they voluntarily want it. It seems as if most people who are mentally ill or addicts don’t want help – and/or don’t think they have a problem. I think the exception is if they have already committed a crime, at which point they can be forced into treatment if they are in fact mentally ill, but only until they are deemed competent. Then they’re released. So how would it help if we dumped a bunch of funding into mental health care, if the mentally ill don’t want help in the first place (since most of them don’t think they are mentally ill)?

  • Jane November 10, 2015 (8:38 pm)

    Thank you for the updates WSB, keep them coming!

  • Egan Fo November 10, 2015 (8:44 pm)

    Thanks for following up once again on this story WSB.

  • Shaniqua Walken-Tawk November 11, 2015 (8:01 am)

    ..the only other information we’ve learned about him, from separate research, is that he worked at a restaurant – not in West Seattle

    He was a line cook at The Cheesecake Factory.

  • Sun November 11, 2015 (11:46 am)

    @Sonic Involuntary inpatient services must be court ordered or if the person is a threat to self and others and assessed by a MHP (mental health professional). As far as outpatient services go, many people are required to if they are court ordered or receiving certain government services/aid. I worked at a community mental health clinic and *most* of the clients were ‘involuntary’ but could not receive other services (Dshs, etc) if they did not visit at least once a month.
    But I do agree that the system needs some radical change. Please educate yourself before you speak about the ‘mentally ill.’ There are many different mental health disorders that affect millions of people. *Most* are very well aware of their symptoms and the difficulties of living with a mental health disorder.

  • Lee Lee Sparks November 12, 2015 (9:39 pm)

    Jacob is an amazing young man. He worked hard and showed love to others. He made mistakes and needs help, We all reach out in different ways. I stand by the Jacob I know and I forgive him. I pray he gets the help he needs and I’m thankful that he didn’t hurt anyone or himself.

  • B November 13, 2015 (1:01 am)

    I worked with Jacob and he was always a great person to be around and such a gentlemen. We are all praying he gets the help he needs.

  • J November 23, 2015 (8:22 am)

    Jacob was a good friend to my son.I hope he gets the help he needs.

  • Egan Fo November 24, 2015 (2:29 pm)

    Any updates on yesterday’s arraignment?

    • WSB November 24, 2015 (2:54 pm)

      Writing that in a bit. Only item of note was that as is fairly standard, he asked for reduced bail – judge said no.

  • Egan Fo November 24, 2015 (6:06 pm)


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