SOUTH BEND, Wash. - Trial dates have been set for May for two suspects in a murder/arson case in which police believe an 85-year-old woman was killed during a 2003 robbery and her home set on fire to cover up the crime.
They were arraigned Friday in Pacific County Superior Court.
Carl Pickernell, 27, and Don Grist, 38, both of Raymond, Wash., were arraigned Friday in Pacific County Superior Court. Both pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and first-degree arson charges.
Pickernell's trial was set for May 1 to May 4. Grist's trial will be May 15 to May 18. A pretrial hearing is set for March 31. Both men are in Pacific County Jail under $1 million bail.
Charges are pending against an already incarcerated third suspect who hasn't been named.
On Nov. 15, 2003, a fire was reported at 5:45 a.m. at the home of Annie Plato at 1902 Park St. in Raymond. According to the Pacific County Sheriff's Office, after the fire was extinguished, Plato's body was identified. Initial investigations indicated signs of arson. An autopsy found Plato died before the fire.
Plato's family reported jewelry and other items missing from her home.
In December, according to the sheriff's office, an inmate in Grays Harbor County Jail said people had planned a robbery at Plato's home and that Plato was confronted and killed.
After the killing, the robbers set the residence on fire to cover up the crime in an attempt to make Plato's death look like an accident, the inmate reportedly told authorities.