Tyler woman accused of setting her home on fire indicted for arson

Tyler woman accused of setting her home on fire indicted for arson
Chernika Ishmon (Source: Smith County Jail)

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A Smith County grand jury has indicted a Tyler woman accused of allegedly setting her home on fire.

The arson indictment against Chernika Sherelle Ishmon, 39, of Tyler, was handed down on Jan. 28.

According to the arrest warrant obtained Monday, Deputy Fire Marshal Larry Crowson was dispatched out for a fire investigation at a house at 311 Vaughn Ave. at about 6:45 a.m. on Oct. 27, 2020. The fire had been reported by Tyler police officers who had been sent to 330 Vaughn Street to check out a report of a disturbance.

The TPD officers were told that Ishmon was on or near the back porch of the home at 330 Vaughn Ave. Ishmon was allegedly uncooperative and refused to talk to the officers.

Then the Tyler PD officers told Crowson that Ishmon walked up to the front door of the home at 311 Vaughn Ave. but would not enter the residence.

“The officers stated that the subject was exhibiting signs of mental instability, saying things that did not make sense and referring to herself as a god,” the warrant stated.

Ishmon was taken into custody and transported to UT Health.

Later, the Tyler PD officers learned that Ishmon was the only person who lived at 311 Vaughn Ave. and that while they were trying to talk to her, someone discovered that her house was on fire, and smoke was coming from it, the warrant stated.

The Tyler PD officers told Crowson that they didn’t see anyone else in or near the house at 311 Vaughn Ave. before or during the time the fire was discovered.

Crowson said in the warrant that his investigation led him to believe that the fire started at two separate points – the living room and the master bedroom.

“An oily liquid had been squirted over several areas, including on the walls in the living area and onto some of the contents in the living area,” the warrant stated. “Fire effects how a fast and hot burn with minimal fire damage to surrounding furnishings, which suggest an accelerant was possibly used to ignite the fire.”

Crowson added that there were no available ignition sources in either place where the fire started.

The deputy fire marshal went to UT Health to talk to Ishmon. When he asked her what had happened earlier that morning, she said she had a boyfriend over, and they had gotten into a fight, the warrant stated.

“She stated that the boyfriend threw stuff on the walls and lit the house on fire,” the warrant stated.

However, Crowson talked to two of Ishmon’s neighbors, and they both said they had never seen a man at or near the home at 311 Vaughn Ave., according to the warrant.

In the warrant, Crowson said he thought the fire was intentionally set and that he believed Ishmon was the only person at 311 Vaugn Ave. when the fire was set.

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