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Charges dropped against man in Skagit County fire that killed 2 children

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. -- Prosecutors have dropped arson and murder charges against one of two defendants in what authorities describe as a deliberately set fire that killed two children in Skagit County.

Jaramy Chism has been released from custody, but his former co-defendant, Kimberly Hughes, remains held on $2 million bail.

Both were arrested July 15 after an early morning fire at a home where they had just been evicted killed a 6-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl and injured the children's parents.

Investigators have said they believe both Hughes and Chism were involved — and that Hughes had threatened to burn the house down days earlier. But lawyers for the pair say they deny involvement.

Chism's attorney, Jon Scott, said Monday that he had requested a preliminary hearing in the case because he did not believe prosecutors had enough evidence to hold his client. Prosecutors dropped the charges rather than go through with the hearing, which had been set for Monday.