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Mother of suspect Josiah Banks believes he was “bullied” in to his acts of arson on the COS campus

Banks' mother seeking conservatorship over her son

The+Visalia+Fire+Department+confers+on+the+scene.
The Visalia Fire Department confers on the scene.

The Visalia Fire Department confers on the scene.

Daniel Gonzalez

Daniel Gonzalez

The Visalia Fire Department confers on the scene.

John Dillon, Reporter

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Josiah Banks,20 from Tulare, a student at the College of the Sequoias, was arrested on Tuesday, August 22 in connection with the string of arsons that occurred on campus Monday and Tuesday.

Banks is alleged to have set a total of ten fires over 48 hours.

Banks is currently in the custody of the Tulare County Sheriff’s office and an arraignment hearing is set for Thursday.

However, Banks’ mother is seeking conservatorship according to documents filed with the Tulare County Superior Court on Wednesday, August 22.

If granted, the legal and financial affairs of the suspect, or ‘conservatee’, would be handled by a more capable adult, the ‘conservator’. This would mean that Banks’ mother, Tia Banks, would essentially act in his place.

The family filed for conservatorship because “Josiah has severe anxiety and autism and had made comments regarding suicide,” according to his mom’s conservatorship expedition form. Bank’s mother went on to state that he had recently been in the ER for the same reasons.

The suspect is also estranged from his father, states the petition. His mother told the court that “Josiah is suffering from anxiety and depression,” and that “having his father involved in this case would be detrimental to his mental state.”

His mother even went so far to say that she believes “[Banks] was coerced and bullied into,” setting the fires. “He agrees with what anyone asks of him,” she stated.

An additional suspect arrested the Monday before Banks’ arrest was later cleared of all charges. He and Banks were caught due in part to the security cameras on campus.

When reached for comment Chief of COS Police Kevin Mizner stated that the school had been seeking to expand upon the already existing security camera system and that “the district is moving forward with cameras in our parking lots and on the Visalia campus.”

He believes that in the next few weeks, approximately forty-five new cameras will be posted on the school site.

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Mother of suspect Josiah Banks believes he was “bullied” in to his acts of arson on the COS campus