GRANITE FALLS — Cindy Wilson turned over the pink Bic lighter to sheriff’s deputies.
She allegedly admitted she used the lighter to start a fire inside the Granite Falls house where the man accused of killing her son had lived with his family. When a deputy told another deputy the house was destroyed Wilson allegedly jumped up and down, yelling “Yes. Yes. Yes.”
Prosecutors recently charged Wilson, 56, with second-degree arson in connection with the 2015 fire. Her trial is scheduled for later this year.
Wilson was in court earlier this month to witness George Hatt being sentenced to 36 years in prison for killing her son, Andrew Spencer. It could be a life sentence for Hatt, 51. He is appealing.
A jury didn’t buy Hatt’s claims that he killed Spencer on Nov. 3, 2015, to protect a friend and himself. Jurors were told that Hatt shot Spencer, buried him and kept a fire burning over Spencer’s body for several days. Witnesses reported that Hatt suspected Spencer, 31, of breaking into his house and stealing from him.
Spencer’s family forced an eyewitness to go to police and he led detectives to the body. Hatt was charged with first-degree murder.
Wilson and others attended one of Hatt’s early court hearings Dec. 4, 2015. Afterward they went to the Buzz Inn in Granite Falls to drink, according to court papers. Later they stopped by a pharmacy for balloons and flowers to place at the scene where Spencer was killed.
Hatt, his girlfriend and teenage son were staying at the property at the time of the homicide. The homeowner told investigators that Hatt was squatting and not paying rent.
Witnesses told deputies Wilson started throwing things at the house and others joined in, breaking windows. She also reportedly went inside and lit a roll of carpet on fire, according to court papers.
Neighbors had called 911 when they saw people vandalizing the home and later saw smoke coming from the area. No one was there when police and firefighters arrived. The house was gutted. Hatt’s girlfriend and son were not home at the time.
A short time later, deputies received another call from someone complaining about drug activity. A deputy arrived and found three vehicles matching the description of those seen leaving the fire scene. Wilson was among the group. She appeared to be drunk, the deputy reported.
She denied starting the fire but later admitted that she was responsible, prosecutors wrote in charging documents. “She said it was not fair that the person who killed her son should have nice things if he ever got out of prison,” a sheriff’s deputy wrote in his report.
A Snohomish County fire investigator told the deputy not to arrest Wilson at that time because the investigation was ongoing.
The homeowner’s insurance company sent a letter in May 2016 to the fire marshal’s office regarding its interest in recovering the $118,500 it paid to the owner.
The case was forwarded to the prosecutor’s office in February. Hatt’s trial was in May. The charge against Wilson was filed July 6, the same day Hatt was sentenced.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.