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Grandson given 45 years in grandmother’s murder
by Gary Kent
Jan 23, 2014 | 116 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE – “Mark, we are the family members of the victim,” Jessica Bass Yzaguirre told the young man sitting at the defense table in district court last week.

She was reading a victim’s statement shortly after the defendant, Mark Allen Pillow, was sentenced to 45 years on charges of murder and arson.

District Judge Joel Johnson had accepted a guilty plea from the defendant in December and set Friday, Jan. 17, as the date for sentencing.

Four members of the audience had left the courtroom before Yzaguirre began reading her statement.

One of those who left, the defendant’s older half brother, Ben Brookins, had been on the witness stand earlier, testifying that Pillow had been having delusions and hearing voices before he stabbed his grandmother, 65-year-old Dorothy Pillow to death in her home on May 4, 2013.

Yzaguirre sobbed as she explained that family members had no closure in the loss of their mother and grandmother.

“There was no casket,” she said. “There was an urn.”

“I want you to live with this for the rest of your life,” the victim’s granddaughter said.

Pillow was led away shortly after by Bee County deputies to begin serving two concurrent 45-year sentences for the crime.

Pillow was taken into custody shortly after his grandmother’s body was discovered in her home at 708 N. Jefferson St. on May 4 of last year.

When he was interviewed on March 6, he admitted to Texas Ranger James Bennett and Beeville Police Department Detective Rene Guererro that he had stabbed his grandmother in the hallway of her home.

He told the officers that he stabbed the woman in the heart and then in the neck because he did not want her to suffer.

The 24-year-old defendant said he knew “she went to Heaven.” He said his grandmother had not resisted his attack, and he knew she was “better off dead.”

Pillow admitted that he changed clothes and placed his bloody clothes and boots at the woman’s feet along with a hatchet and machete and then climbed into the attic of the home.

Investigators also found blood smeared on the door of a dryer in the house, suggesting that had possibly washed some items before he set fire to the house.

The defendant told the investigators that once he was in the attic of the rent house, he bundled up some insulation and set fire to it.

Photos of the burned items and the victim’s wounds were included in the case folder at the office of District Clerk Zenaida Silva.

Neighbors told investigators later that they had seen Pillow standing on the porch of his grandmother’s house the day of the murder. One man told authorities that he called to Pillow and that the man turned to him and said something like, “God bless you.”

Pillow then walked away from the house and the neighbor said he noticed the residence was burning a short time later.

Psychiatrist reports included in Pillow’s file showed that doctors believed he was schizophrenic, that he suffered from depression, that he was bipolar and that he was dependent on cannabis (marijuana) and he abused alcohol.

One doctor, Raul Capitaine, did say that he did not feel Pillow had been temporarily insane at the time of the crime.

He reported that Pillow believed “everyone was trying to kill him and felt people were watching him.” He also believed the FBI had implanted chips in him and that he was being watched from outer space.

At the time of his arrest, Bennett reported that he found marijuana and $204 on Pillow.

Family members said the defendant did not have a job, and one family member said she had talked to Dorothy Pillow on the telephone about an hour before the fire, and she could hear Mark Pillow in the background shouting and causing a disturbance.

But her grandmother had assured her that she was all right.

In his closing arguments before Johnson, Assistant District Attorney James Sales said he thought the defendant had argued with his grandmother and had asked for money.

But the woman refused to give him money to buy drugs. He said Pillow left the residence but returned minutes later and confronted the victim in the hallway, where the stabbing took place.

Sales also pointed out that Mrs. Pillow had received a disability check the previous day, and when Mark Pillow was arrested, officers found money on him.

During the hearing Friday, the defendant either stared straight ahead or looked down.

He did not speak or show any emotion.

Johnson said Pillow would have 30 days from Jan. 17 to file an appeal in the case. He would also need Johnson’s permission to appeal the ruling.

Pillow will have to serve one half of his 45 years before he is eligible for parole.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.
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