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A 60-year old Vancouver, Washington man pleaded guilty October 2, 2013 to conspiracy to commit arson in connection with a March 2003 arson, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. MARK DUANE FUSTON, also known as “Mau Mau,” admitted he used propane and various flammable liquids to burn down the ‘Desire Video’ store that was nearing completion on NE 94th Avenue in Vancouver. The fire destroyed the building causing some $850,000 in damage. Sentencing is scheduled for December 16, 2013, in front of U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle. Prosecutors have agreed to recommend no more than 37 months in prison. Judge Settle is not bound by the recommendation and can sentence FUSTON to any sentence up to the five year maximum.
According to the plea agreement, FUSTON was hired to torch the building. FUSTON and another man (now deceased) acted together to commit the arson. On the night of March 27, 2003, FUSTON rerouted a propane line into the building and placed a remote control incendiary device in the building. However, when the remote control device malfunctioned, FUSTON returned to the building and left a fuel trail to the building which he later ignited manually. The fire ignited the propane trapped inside the building causing the explosion and fire.
FUSTON was indicted March 27, 2013.
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), the Vancouver Police Department and the Vancouver Fire Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Gregory A. Gruber.