Arrests made by detectives in murder of Arlington man
ARLINGTON, Wash., March 25, 2023—Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit detectives make two arrests in the Arlington murder of 33-year-old Austin J Hoerner, who later succumbed to his injuries after being shot multiple times on the morning of February 7, 2023.
Both suspects, 37-year-old David Charles Koeppen of Everett and 28-year-old Dillon Howard Thomas of Lynnwood, were currently in custody in the Snohomish County Jail booked weeks earlier for other felony charges.
On Wednesday, March 22, both suspects appeared in court and were held on first-degree murder charges. Bail was set at $2 million for each suspect.
Koeppen, was arrested back on February 9 and booked into the Snohomish County Jail the next day on three counts of unlawful possession of a firearm and for the manufacture and delivery of Schedule I, II and IV drugs. Bond for these charges is set at $500,000. On March 22, while still in custody, Snohomish County Major Crimes Unit detectives referred additional charges of first-degree murder and a fourth count of unlawful possession of a firearm.
Records show that Koeppen was released on a $2,500 bond from Snohomish County Jail a month before the murder of Hoerner in early February. Koeppen was originally arrested on January 3 for an unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of drug paraphernalia, and for the manufacture and delivery of Schedule I, II and IV drugs. He posted bond the next day and was released within 24 hours of being booked into the Snohomish County Jail.
According to a Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers (SWFL) Facebook post from 2019, Koeppen stole more than $5,000 in tools, jewelry, cash and prescription pills from a woman who allowed him to stay at her home. When the woman confronted Koeppen about the suspected theft, he took off.
SWFL Crime Stoppers reports that Koeppen has a history of dealing methamphetamine in Lee County, Florida, and repeatedly violates his probation. Before moving to Florida, the report says Koeppen was sentenced to 14 years in prison in Bloomington, Illinois, after pleading guilty to a home invasion robbery where he tried to pour bleach down the victim’s throat. Koeppen was also accused of tying the male victim’s hands and hitting him in the head with a hatchet during the attack. At the time of the 2019 post by SWFL Crime Stoppers, Koeppen had four active felony warrants and was wanted in Lee County without bail.
In 2015, News-Press reported that Koppen, 29 at the time, was arrested for traffic infractions but was later charged while in custody with possession of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and introduction of drugs into a correctional facility.
While being searched at the Lee County jail, Koeppen took off his left sock, tossed it on the floor and yelled to Sheriff Deputies, “You were going to find it anyway.”
The sock contained a small plastic bag of methamphetamine and a piece of aluminum used to smoke it, according to News-Press.
The second suspect, 28-year-old Dillon Howard Thomas of Lynnwood, was arrested back on February 24 and booked into the Snohomish County Jail the next day for unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a stolen vehicle and obstructing a law enforcement officer. During his arrest, Thomas attempted to flee from deputies and rammed a patrol vehicle. On March 22, while still in custody on a $300,000 bond, detectives referred an additional charge for first-degree murder.
Koeppen and Thomas, who are now facing life imprisonment for the first-degree murder of Hoerner, showed up at his Arlington motorhome shortly after 8 a.m. on Tuesday, February 7. According to law enforcement, a verbal altercation ensued between the two suspects and Hoerner. He was then shot multiple times and the two suspects fled the scene in a silver passenger vehicle.
Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office patrol deputies responded to the scene at approximately 8:20 a.m. Hoerner was transported to Providence Regional Medical Center and on February 11, succumbed to his injuries.
The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit is responsible for investigating crimes such as homicide, robbery, and felony assault. During the investigation, patrol deputies and Major Crimes Unit detectives worked collaboratively to develop intelligence and positively identified the involved vehicle. Through an extensive investigation, including video evidence, physical evidence, and cellular data analysis, detectives identified both suspects involved in the shooting.
This remains an active investigation. Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit tip line: 425-388-3845.
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