Dustin Griffin, a Vancouver man accused of killing a Woodland resident and lighting his house on fire after burglarizing him in 2016, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Tuesday and will stand trial on Jan. 29.
His alleged accomplice, Monroe, Wash., resident Kristopher Hoyt, will be arraigned Wednesday.
The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office said the case remains open, with more leads and interviews left to follow up on. Nevertheless, court records for the first time reveal some details of the case and how detectives may have cracked it after two years.
Sheriff’s deputies booked Griffin, 39, on Oct. 8 and arrested Hoyt, 26, on Oct. 11, on allegations that they killed Donald Howard, 63, while burglarizing his house.
In the early morning of Nov. 22, 2016, firefighters rushed to a fire in the 2100 block of Dahlia Street. After extinguishing it, they and law enforcement found Howard, who was found to have died from blunt force trauma.