Beeville police charge man with grandmother's death in fire

Jessica Priest By Jessica Priest

May 8, 2013 at 12:08 a.m.
Updated May 9, 2013 at 12:09 a.m.

A nurse dialed Dorothy Pillow's home Saturday to warn her she was in danger.

The nurse called to warn her about her grandson Mark Pillow, 24, who has mental health issues that haven't yet been diagnosed.

Four hours later, that nurse's fears were realized. Firefighters discovered Dorothy Pillow's body after they extinguished a fire at her home in the 700 block of North Jefferson Street at 4:16 p.m.

On Tuesday, Beeville police charged Mark Pillow with murder and arson.

"The Mark that killed my mom is not the Mark I knew. We knew him as 'Marky Sparky,'" said Melissa Durment, Dorothy Pillow's daughter and Mark's aunt. "He talked to himself all the time. ... We tried to get him help. They (the doctors) just ignored it."

Mark Pillow was already in the Bee County Jail on an unrelated charge of possession of marijuana in a drug-free zone charge when he was arrested on the new charges.

A judge set his bond at $1.5 million for these new charges, Beeville Police Chief Joe Trevino said.

Trevino added that evidence gathered at the scene pointed to Mark Pillow's involvement but would not elaborate.

Dorothy Pillow's cause of death has not been determined, pending results of an autopsy by the Nueces County Medical Examiner's Office. Investigators do not know if she died before the fire or as a result of the fire.

Mark Pillow was living with his grandmother at the time of her death, said Jessica Yzaguirre, 25, a granddaughter.

She thinks police were suspicious of her cousin because neighbors said they saw him running from the scene after they heard an explosion.

Yzaguirre is still mourning the woman she said taught her about Jesus and helped raise her.

"It's just something you don't want to believe," Yzaguirre said.

Durment said Dorothy Pillow was one of her grandson's biggest supporters.

"She always backed him up. She's probably looking down on us saying, 'Y'all need to forgive him.' I can hear her now," Durment said, crying. "My mom wouldn't want us to hold any kind of grudge against him."

Dorothy Pillow, 65, worked as a licensed optician and was a homemaker in Victoria before retiring about nine years ago. She had three children, 16 grandchildren and 10 great-grand children.



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