Suspect arrested in Granite Falls disappearance and death

GRANITE FALLS — Detectives were told a Granite Falls man threatened to kill Andrew Spencer multiple times.

Spencer was reported missing Nov. 8. A friend told police she hadn’t seen him in a week. On Wednesday human remains were found in a fire pit on some property used by squatters. Detectives believe Spencer, 32, was shot twice.

Prosecutors on Friday charged George Donald Hatt Jr. with first-degree murder for Spencer’s death. Witnesses said Hatt shot Spencer in the head and chest and then buried the body.

Hatt allegedly blamed Spencer for stealing some of his property, according to court documents.

Hatt was arrested Friday in Auburn after police received a tip about his whereabouts. He was booked into the Snohomish County Jail. He’s also charged with second-degree murder and unlawful possession of a gun.

Hatt, 49, is a convicted felon who was wanted on an arrest warrant out of California.

Detectives learned that Hatt lived on the property in the 21000 block of 133rd Street NE. He allegedly ran a chop shop from there and sold vehicles using counterfeit titles. Witnesses said he is a drug user.

Detectives were told that when Spencer was released from jail late last month he came out to the property. Witnesses overheard a heated argument between him and Hatt, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Halley Hupp wrote in court papers.

Spencer allegedly admitted that he had some of the defendant’s property but denied that he was responsible for its theft. A witness told investigators that it appeared that the men resolved their beef. But other witnesses reported hearing Hatt repeatedly threaten to kill Spencer.

A man told police Spencer showed up Nov. 3 and punched and kicked him. Then Hatt came out of a boarded up house and allegedly shot Spencer at close range, court papers said.

Hatt allegedly ordered two people to dump Spencer’s car. Police found the car on the Mountain Loop Highway. A man told detectives he helped bury Spencer’s body because he was afraid of Hatt.

The defendant was being held on $1 million bail.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463, hefley@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @dianahefley.

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