2 bodies found in Huntsville home that burned down 1 month after being painted with racial slurs

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Sunday, June 11, 2023
Bodies found inside burned-down Huntsville home targeted in hate crime
In May, the homeowner discovered a racial slur had been painted on his door, now a month later investigators are determining how that same home burned down with two bodies inside.

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (KTRK) -- At least two people have died in a fire at a Huntsville home ABC13 has previously reported as the target of hate crimes, according to its owner.

Neighbors noticed Mario Roberson's Huntsville rental property was on fire around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday in the Waterwood neighborhood.

One man, who asked not to be named, told ABC13 he saw a man run from the house while allegedly fully engulfed in flames before stripping down and driving off.

"Racism, power, hungriness, money, has gotten us to this place," Roberson said.

VIEW ORIGINAL REPORT: Racial slur graffitied on Huntsville homeowner's door amid tensions with neighborhood association

Only ABC13 is speaking with a Huntsville homeowner, who's Black, after a racial slur was graffitied on his door.

On May 6, the Waterwood Homeowners Association met to discuss short-term rentals and other matters. Roberson, who owns two short-term rentals in the neighborhood, described the meeting as heated.

The HOA eventually voted to eliminate short-term rentals. Roberson said he left Huntsville for Houston after the meeting.

When he returned to the home on May 8, he said he found a message that read, "We don't like your kind (racial slur)" spray painted on his backdoor.

On May 26, he said he was inside a room when a window to his two-story rental home had been shot out.

"You fear for your life when things like this happen," he explained.

A month later, one of his homes caught fire and burned down.

Investigators with the state fire marshal's office were on the scene Saturday, but the agency would not release any information on the incident.

The San Jacinto County Sheriff's Office also did not respond to requests for information. However, ABC13 was there as at least two bodies were recovered.

Their identities have yet to be made public.

"Mario's just the type of person that he'll give you the shirt off his back," neighbor James Schwebach said. "If someone's burning his house down, it's because of hate. Pure evil hate."

ABC13 contacted an attorney representing the Waterwood Homeowners Association, Mitchell Katine. He said the association had no comment until the investigation is complete.

He also shared a statement they distributed after the graffiti incident.

It reads in part: "In no circumstance whatsoever is the use of threats, racial slurs, or personal attacks on anyone supported by the Board of Directors of the Waterwood Improvement Association Inc."

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