9-Year-Old Charged With 5 Counts of Murder in House Fire Deaths

A 9-year-old boy has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder.
Authorities would not say whether the boy and the victims were related. iStock

A 9-year-old child who allegedly set fire to an Illinois mobile home, killing three children and two adults, has been charged with first-degree murder.

The boy also faces two counts of arson and one count of aggravated arson, according Woodford County State's Attorney Greg Minger. He is charged with five murder counts.

The child's name was not released because of his age, and the prosecutor declined to provide additional information, including whether the boy and the victims were related. 

Minger's decision to charge the boy came six months after the fire began about 11 p.m. on a Saturday in April at the Timberline Estates mobile home park in Goodfield. 

Within minutes, the entire trailer was engulfed in flames, firefighters said.

Killed were Kathryn Murray, 69, Jason Wall, 34, Rose Alwood, 2, Daemeon Wall, 2, and Ariel Wall 1. All five victims died from smoke inhalation. There were two survivors, Katrina Alwood, who was 27 at the time of the fire, and her juvenile son, whose age was not given.

Katrina was engaged to Jason Wall, and they were the parents of Ariel and Daemon. Murray was Katrina's grandmother. Rose was Katrina's niece.

The prosecutor said he spent long hours reviewing reports about the fire before filing charges.

"It was a heavy decision," he told reporters, according to The Associated Press. "It's a tragedy, but at the end of the day it's charging a very young person with one of the most serious crimes we have."

The charges were filed Tuesday. The child will be appointed an attorney and will be tried by a judge without a jury, the prosecutor said. 

If convicted, the boy could be placed on probation for at least five years, but not past the age of 21, he said. Counseling and psychological testing will most likely be part of the child's probation should he be found guilty, Minger said.

Incarceration is not on the table in this case, he said. 

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