Man to plea in arson case, agrees to cooperate
HUNTINGTON - A man accused of intentionally setting a fire at the former YWCA building on 5th Avenue in Huntington has agreed to enter a guilty plea to the crime and to cooperate in other investigations into possible arsons in Huntington, according to Huntington Police Detective Chris Sperry.
Joshua Scott Griffith Francis, 26, of Huntington, was charged with first-degree arson Jan. 4 in connection with the Jan. 3 fire, reported just after 2 a.m. at an outbuilding in the 600 block of 5th Avenue behind the YWCA, which has been empty for several years.
A passer-by reported smoke coming out of the building, and the building was fully engulfed by the time firefighters arrived. No injuries were reported. An investigation by the city fire marshal determined the blaze to be a set fire.
According to the criminal complaint filed in Cabell County Magistrate Court, Francis was apprehended in the 400 block of 5th Street on Jan. 4 allegedly wearing the same clothing as the suspect investigators identified through surveillance footage obtained from several businesses surrounding the YWCA.
Griffith had been scheduled for a preliminary evidence hearing Monday in Cabell County Magistrate Court, but the hearing was canceled after he agreed to enter a guilty plea to first-degree arson. The plea will occur at a later date in circuit court.
As part of the agreement he will be allowed to apply to be released on home confinement until the plea takes place.