Family suspects retaliation in East Side fires

Mother & son occupants were arrested hours before Sunday fire; still in jail when home was destroyed in Tuesday morning blaze

San Antonio – The flames that destroyed an East Side home burned bright and hot Tuesday morning, and family members believe they were fueled by revenge.

The blaze was called in a little before 4:15 a.m. Tuesday and destroyed the house at the end of Cardiff Avenue, just a treeline away from the westbound lanes of I-10. It was the second fire at the home in roughly 30 hours.

The San Antonio Fire Department says arson investigators are looking into both fires.

The first fire, which an SAFD spokesman says was contained to a chair in front of the home, was called in at 7:12 p.m. Sunday night.

A fire reported on Sunday night, just hours after Dietria Pennington and DeJohnta Myre were arrested, was contained to a chair in the front of the house, an SAFD spokesman said. (Earlee Mazyck)

That was just hours after the adult mother and son who live at the home, Dietria Pennington and DeJhonta Myre, were arrested for assault. Both remained locked up Tuesday, with their bail set at $5,000 each, while their home burned.

No injuries were reported in the Tuesday morning fire. A young girl who the family says also lives at the house is reportedly staying with other family members.

Earlee Mazyck, who owns the property, says Pennington is her cousin and lives at the home with Myre. She believes both fires were intentionally set as retaliation.

“It was deliberate,’ Mazyck, who lives in South Carolina, told KSAT over the phone.” And I hate to say that, being a Christian. Yeah, it was did on purpose.”

Asked what specifically it might be retaliation for, Mazyck said KSAT would have to speak with Pennington and Myre, but that “it’s been going on, I wanna say, a couple of months.”

Pennington, 43, and Myre, 24, were arrested for assaulting two men at about noon Sunday. A preliminary San Antonio Police report provided to KSAT did not name the two men, though it gave their ages as 61 and 36 years old.

According to the report, Pennington had gotten intoxicated and started a physical fight with the older man. Myre started fighting, too, police say, and stabbed the younger man in the hand with a BBQ poker.

Pennington’s older son who lives in New Orleans, Dimarea Pennington, told KSAT over the phone this wasn’t the first problem his mother and brother had had.

“They were having physical altercations. This was one of many,” Dimarea Pennington told KSAT over the phone.

He said his mother was injured in another incident on Sep. 27. A redacted SAPD report from that date does not name Pennington, but confirms a woman was injured after a neighbor punched her in the face and closed his door on her.

However, the report lists the woman as a suspect for a terroristic threat, and officers wrote that a witness told them the woman had gone to the man’s home and was threatening to kill him.

Police wrote in the report that a male suspect also approached the neighbor in front of them, cussing and saying he would kill him because of what had happened.

The report also states early on “this as [sic] been an ongoing issue for years, there was claims of a blood feud between the neighbors that their family members were killed by each other.”

KSAT did not find anyone to speak on camera Tuesday during a visit to the neighborhood. Though one neighbor, who did not want to be named, said Pennington threatens and cusses people out.

San Antonio Police records also show 79 calls for service to Pennington and Myre’s home since January. The various reason for the calls include: assaults on Sep. 27 and Dec. 4, disturbances with and without a gun, shots fired calls, suspicious person reports, and welfare checks.

The most recent call for police service was Tuesday morning for the fire that destroyed the home.

About the Authors:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.

Before starting at KSAT in August 2011, Ken was a news photographer at KENS. Before that he was a news photographer at KVDA TV in San Antonio. Ken graduated from San Antonio College with an associate's degree in Radio, TV and Film. Ken has won a Sun Coast Emmy and four Lone Star Emmys. Ken has been in the TV industry since 1994.