SLO County jury convicted him of verbally threatening to light on fire an employee of the Sweet Springs Saloon 

ATASCDERO — After a week-long trial, a San Luis Obispo County jury convicted Kellen John Clarke (59) of verbally threatening to light on fire an employee of the Sweet Springs Saloon. This threat was made shortly after Clarke was expelled from the bar for insulting a female patron and while he was holding a gasoline can. 

District Attorney Dan Dow announced on Thursday, Mar. 17, that a San Luis Obispo County jury found Atascadero resident Kellen John Clarke (DOB 01/05/1963) guilty of verbally threatening to light on fire the bartender working at the Sweet Springs Saloon in Los Osos. The crime is a felony criminal threat.

Jurors heard evidence about the incident that took place on Dec. 16, 2021, shortly after Clarke was ejected from the Los Osos Sweet Springs Saloon for insulting a female customer. Clarke returned to the bar holding a gas can and made a verbal threat to light the bartender and the bar on fire. Clarke then walked to a gas station directly across the street, where he was observed filling the can with gasoline. San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived on scene and intercepted Clarke as he walked with the gas can back toward the bartender and the saloon. 

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“We are grateful to our local residents who performed their civic duty of jury service,” said District Attorney Dan Dow. “Our criminal and victim justice system would not work without conscientious community members doing their part.”

At the time of the incident, the defendant was on post release community supervision after serving a sentence for a felony drunk driving conviction in 2020. He was found to be in violation of the terms of his community supervision. 

Clarke is scheduled to be sentenced on Apr. 4 at 8:30 am in Department 5 of the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court, the Honorable Craig van Rooyen presiding.

The case was investigated by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office with the assistance of the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation and was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Scott Hunter assigned to the Adult Prosecutions Unit.

Please contact Assistant District Attorney Eric J. Dobroth at (805) 781-5819 with any questions.