The 24-year-old suspect has been in jail since Sunday when he was arrested on a charge of possession of marijuana in a drug-free zone. He was charged a day later with murder and arson in connection with the death of his grandmother, 65-year-old Dorothy Pillow.
The arrest was made after police saw the suspect near the house and found marijuana on him.
On Monday, as Beeville Police Department investigators returned from Mrs. Pillow’s autopsy by the Nueces County Medical Examiner’s Office in Corpus Christi, the murder and arson charges were filed.
Aliseda said he does not yet know much about the case and it is too early to determine whether to pursue a capital murder conviction.
The murder was committed along with another felony, arson, making it eligible for capital punishment. That would mean that if the grandson is found guilty, he could face either a life sentence or death by lethal injection.
However, the charge already filed, murder, is a first degree felony. If convicted of that count, Pillow could be sentenced to a maximum of 99 years to life in prison.
The arson charge is a second degree felony that could result in a two- to 20-year prison sentence. Convictions on either that or the murder charge also could require the suspect to pay a $10,000 fine.
Garcia was not elaborating on what evidence they found at the grandmother’s house at 708 N. Jefferson St. But some reports have indicated that the grandson was seen running from the house Saturday, right after an explosion inside the residence.
Firemen were called shortly afterward, at 4:16 p.m.
The suspect reportedly worked odd jobs in the community and Garcia said Pillow had lived with his grandmother at times.
His bonds were set at $1.5 million each on the murder and arson charges for a total of $3 million.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.