A Walnut Creek man accused of fatally stabbing his estranged wife’s friend and then setting her Pleasant Hill house on fire Thursday was arraigned today in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez but did not enter a plea. Robert Hoselton, 42, has been charged with murder with an enhancement for the use of a deadly weapon, arson of an inhabited dwelling and first-degree residential burglary. At about 4:35 p.m. Thursday, police received a report of a fire at a house at 1600 Mary Drive where Hoselton’s wife and two young children lived. When they arrived, officers found the garage fully engulfed in flames and were told that a man had barricaded himself inside. Police later found Hoselton in the backyard suffering from self-inflicted injuries, police said. He was arrested for arson and violating a restraining order to stay away from his wife and then taken to a local hospital for treatment. Arson investigators determined that the fire had been intentionally set and that it caused an estimated $120,000 damage, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District spokeswoman Emily Hopkins said. Later that evening, while Hoselton was in the hospital, police received a second call from a woman who said she had gone over to a house at 2931 Dorothy Drive in Pleasant Hill and found what appeared to be blood on the front porch, police said. Inside, police found the body of 42-year-old Manuel Gwin Jr., who had been stabbed multiple times, police said. Police allegedly found evidence that connected Hoselton to Gwin’s killing and arrested him at the hospital on suspicion of murder, police said. Prosecutor Harold Jewett, who filed the charges against Hoselton on Tuesday, said Hoselton suspected that his wife was having an affair with Gwin and might have killed him out of jealousy. Hoselton’s restraining order stemmed from an April 26 incident in which Hoselton allegedly held his wife down, choked her and threatened to kill her after she said she didn’t want to have sex with him, according to court documents. He was convicted May 26 of misdemeanor battery on a spouse and sentenced to 50 days in jail, but the jail term was suspended and he was released, according to court records. In the file, Hoselton’s wife described her husband as “irrationally jealous” and said he was convinced she was having an affair. She also described several separate incidents in which Hoselton had allegedly taken her cell phone from her and listened to her voice mail, left a recording device inside the house to monitor her phone calls with a male friend and broke her car key off in the ignition to prevent her from leaving the house. Hoselton is scheduled to return to court July 8 to enter a plea to the charges.
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