Huntsville home being seized by San Jacinto County a month prior to deadly fire, records show

Mycah Hatfield Image
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Huntsville home being seized month prior to deadly fire, records show
San Jacinto County planned to seize a Huntsville home one month before a deadly fire and the homeowner, Mario Roberson, was charged with arson.

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (KTRK) -- The Houston man charged with arson for a fire at his San Jacinto County home that killed two people is not believed to have physically set the fire himself.

San Jacinto County First Assistant District Attorney Rob Freyer would only say Mario Roberson was believed to have played a role.

Roberson has not been taken into custody and declined to speak to ABC13 on Tuesday. Hours after his indictment the day prior, Roberson maintained his innocence over the phone.

The fire happened on June 10 at his home in the Waterwood neighborhood in Huntsville.

Two men, including one of Roberson's relatives, died in the fire. Another man survived.

"I know what's been happening to me in the past," Roberson said during an interview two days after the fire. "I know that it has been escalated."

On May 9, ABC13 first spoke with Roberson about racist graffiti painted on the door of his home. He referred to a dispute with his neighborhood HOA as being the catalyst.

SEE ALSO: Racial slur graffitied on Huntsville homeowner's door amid tensions with neighborhood association

Freyer said that the incident was not presented as part of their case to the grand jury but said it remains under investigation.

"People are being terrible because of the hatred in their hearts," Roberson said on May 9.

Two days after Roberson's initial on-camera interview and about a month before the fire, San Jacinto County rendered a decree of sale on the home for unpaid taxes. The constable's deed shows he was delinquent on taxes to the Oakhurst Independent School District and Waterwood Municipal Utility District.

ABC13 found Roberson owed $26,412 in back taxes on the home. County records show he did not pay property taxes for five years.

The lot where the home sat prior to the fire sold for $55,000 in September.

Roberson purchased the home in 2016 under a limited liability company that was established a month prior. State records show he owes back taxes on the LLC as well.

RELATED: Huntsville homeowner believes 1 of the 2 people killed at his home was a relative

Court records show numerous civil lawsuits listing Roberson as the defendant in both Oklahoma and Texas.

Body camera footage obtained by ABC13 shows the man who survived the fire speaking with San Jacinto County deputies.

"Tell me the truth. What happened?" the deputy asked.

"I'm telling you," the survivor said. "I'm from Houston. This dude told me to bring him out here to Huntsville...He said somebody wants to do a numbers job on a house."

Law enforcement tells ABC13 that a "numbers job" is commonly used to refer to insurance fraud.

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