The suspect in a 2016 murder in Woodland has been found guilty of aggravated murder, the Longview Daily News reported late last month.
On Oct. 25, Dustin Allan Griffin, a Clark County resident, was found guilty in the death of Donald Howard, a Woodland resident, in a burglary gone wrong. The Daily News reported that the jury deliberated for only two hours before making the decision, noting that an aggravated murder charge carries a mandatory 30-year sentence without the possibility of parole.
Griffin’s conviction stems from the death at Howard’s home Nov. 22, 2016. Griffin had avoided arrest on a first-degree murder charge for nearly two years, eventually coming into custody Oct. 8, 2018.
Initially, fire personnel were responding to a structure fire at Howard’s residence on Dahlia Street in Woodland in the early morning of the alleged murder.
According to a probable cause affidavit, fire crews noticed a handheld propane torch near the home’s front door, leading to an immediate suspicion of arson. Upon entry, they discovered Howard’s bound body.
Evidence at the scene indicated to first responders that the scene was that of an arson to cover up Howard’s killing, according to the affidavit.
Howard was a prominent figure in the community and well-known for collecting gold jewelry, eagle memorabilia, coins and Franklin Mint watches, which they determined was the target of the crime.
It took a year-and-a-half of investigation before a breakthrough in Spring 2018 where they encountered someone with information on Griffin. Eventually, investigators were able to speak with an ex-girlfriend of Griffin, later obtaining a search warrant for Griffin’s residence where they discovered shoes that matched evidence at the crime scene.
The trial began Oct. 15, The Daily News reported. Griffin is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 12, according to the state court database.