Fort Worth

Grand jury indicts man in burning death of Pelican Bay woman

A Tarrant County grand jury has indicted a Pelican Bay man on a murder charge, accusing him of setting a 74-year-old woman on fire in April. Jonathan Scifres had been a tenant of Catherine Davis.
A Tarrant County grand jury has indicted a Pelican Bay man on a murder charge, accusing him of setting a 74-year-old woman on fire in April. Jonathan Scifres had been a tenant of Catherine Davis.

A Tarrant County grand jury has indicted a Pelican Bay man in the burning death of his 74-year-old landlady.

Grand jurors returned a murder indictment Tuesday against Jonathan Scifres, 28, who remains in the Tarrant County Jail.

Scifres is accused of killing Catherine Davis on April 19 by pouring combustible liquid on her and then lighting her on fire.

Scifres had been Davis’ tenant. Police said they had no reports of previous calls from the residence.

A competency examination has been ordered on Scifres because his attorney, Danny Pitzer, noted in the motion for an examination that the Pelican Bay man told him that “he wasn’t in right mind” at the time Davis was killed.

Pelican Bay police received a 911 call about a disturbance at 9:43 a.m. on April 19 near the 1500 block of Lark Court.

“The officers met the suspect in the street,” Pelican Bay Police Chief Robert Porter told the Star-Telegram in April. “The suspect clearly appeared to be under the influence of an illegal substance. He may have been intoxicated or something else.”

While on the scene, Pelican Bay officers were alerted to a report of a structure fire in the vicinity.

Area firefighters responded to the scene and extinguished the blaze at a mobile home, and discovered Davis’ body in the bathroom of the home on Lark Court.

As of Thursday, the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office had not ruled on the cause or manner of her death.

The indictment noted that Davis died from being set on fire.

Scifres was arrested at the scene.

Pelican Bay police were assisted by Texas Rangers. Tarrant County fire officials investigated.

Scifres was in jail Thursday with bail set at $100,640 bail, facing charges of murder and public intoxication.

This report includes information from Star-Telegram archives.

Domingo Ramirez Jr.: 817-390-7763, @mingoramirezjr

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