A large number off law enforcement are gathered at a Skykomish River water access on Ben Howard Road on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024, in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

A large number off law enforcement are gathered at a Skykomish River water access on Ben Howard Road on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024, in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Sultan man charged with murdering ‘amazing woman,’ assaulting her friend

Kristopher Dillard shot Ashley Hozjan, 32, to death after her friend rejected his advances, according to new charges.

GOLD BAR — A Sultan man made multiple romantic advances toward a woman before he shot and killed her friend in retaliation for her rejection, according to charges filed Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court.

Prosecutors charged Kristopher Dillard, 44, with second-degree murder in the shooting death of a woman at a boat launch near Gold Bar earlier this month. Police initially arrested him for investigation of first-degree murder.

Court papers and a memorial fund identified the deceased as Ashley Hozjan, 32.

Dillard also faces a charge of third-degree assault for allegedly pistol-whipping Hozjan’s best friend.

On Jan. 2, Dillard told the two women to meet him at the Big Eddy boat launch, according to charging papers. He claimed he wanted to talk about repair work on her car. Dillard drove there in a maroon Ford F-250 and parked next to her car.

The woman had a “narcotics selling/buying” relationship with Dillard, according to the detective’s report.

Hozjan sat in the passenger seat of her friend’s car, charges say. Dillard got into the back seat. The three talked about drugs and the repairs, but Dillard abruptly changed the conversation to talk about “us” — referring to himself and the driver as a couple.

The woman had rejected Dillard’s advances for “some time,” charges say. She reportedly told Dillard she believed the two were just friends.

The defendant asked the woman if they could speak privately, trying to get her to exit the vehicle, according to charges. She reportedly refused, telling him to “get the (expletive) out of my car.”

“Well, you have seen the generous side of me,” Dillard reportedly responded. “Now you are going to see the other side.”

Dillard quickly pulled out a revolver, according to court documents.

Prosecutors allege he shot Hozjan in the head and struck the woman in the face, causing her to bleed.

The injured woman escaped the car and the defendant followed behind her, according to the charges. In a struggle between the two, Dillard tried to kiss the woman.

“You know what I want,” he reportedly told her.

At some point, Dillard went to his car to get something to help with the woman’s bleeding, the charges say. While he wasn’t looking, the woman reported, she got back in her car and escaped to Monroe, with Hozjan in the passenger seat. By the time police found the women, Hozjan was dead.

The injured woman was eventually taken to Evergreen Hospital in Monroe.

Kristopher Dillard (Washington State Department of Corrections)

Kristopher Dillard (Washington State Department of Corrections)

Around 12:45 p.m. the next day, sheriff’s deputies found Dillard in the back of his pickup near the 22100 block of Ben Howard Road in Monroe, charges say. Investigators saw a duffle bag with blood on it in the back of the car.

When officers approached him, Dillard reportedly fled on foot into the Skykomish River. He floated downstream for about 10 minutes before deputies caught him and took him into custody.

In a police interview, Dillard claimed he had been outside the car when he heard a gunshot, according to charges. The sound prompted him to walk up to their car and find the woman deceased. He then reportedly changed his story, claiming he tried to console the injured woman after the shooting. The defendant had no explanation for her injuries.

Detectives had not located the firearm as of this week.

A state and federal criminal justice database search suggested Dillard was an “armed career criminal,” detectives wrote. Court records show he had been convicted of numerous robberies around Puget Sound.

On Wednesday, Dillard remained behind bars at the Snohomish County Jail with bail set at $1 million.

An online fundraiser was started by Hozjan’s coworker to pay for her family’s expenses. As of Wednesday, it has raised over $5,000.

“Ashley was an amazing woman who always had a smile on her face,” the fundraiser read. “She had an infectious personality always making someone else smile.”

Maya Tizon: 425-339-3434; maya.tizon@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @mayatizon.

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