Nine-year-old Illinois boy branded ‘arsonist,’ charged with first-degree murder in mobile home fire that killed five relatives, including three toddlers, and stepdad – His mother insists her son is not a monster, just made a mistake
‘People make mistakes, and that’s what this is. Yes, it was a horrible tragedy, but it’s still not something to throw his life away over’ – Katrina Alwood defends the son accused of killing her family, saying Kyle is not ‘some kind of monster.’ The woman insisted the nine-year-old suffering from mental illness had made a mistake
Nine-year-old alleged arsonist, Kyle Alwood, is accused of arson in mobile home fire that killed five relatives, including three toddlers, as mother insists he’s NOT a monster and just made a mistake
Kyle reportedly set an April 6 trailer home fire near Peoria, Illinois, that killed his siblings Ariel Wall, 1, and two-year-old Daemeon Wall
Also killed in the fire were his cousin Rose Alwood, 2, his mother’s fiance Jason Wall, 34, and his great-grandmother Kathryn Murray, 69
The only survivors of the home fire are Katrina Alwood, 27, and her son Kyle, then aged eight – Katrina Alwood has now identified her son Kyle as the accused arsonist
She told CBS This Morning her nine-year-old son, the alleged arsonist, had been recently diagnosed with schizophrenia, ADHD and bipolar disorder
Kyle was charged Tuesday with five counts of first-degree murder, two counts of arson and one count of aggravated arson
If convicted on five counts of felony murder, nine-year-old Kyle Alwood could be placed on probation for at least five years but not beyond the age of 21, and will not be imprisoned
Is he a pyromaniac? Kyle Alwood, nine, has been identified by his mother as the Illinois boy who was charged earlier this week with five counts of first-degree murder in connection to a deadly April fire
Katrina, who was engaged to Jason, and her son from a previous relationship, Kyle, then eight years old, were the only people who managed to escape the burning residence.
The 27-year-old mother told CBS that Kyle had been recently diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and ADHD. She also revealed that the boy in the past had shown interest in lighters and fire.
‘Everyone is looking at him like he’s some kind of monster, but that’s not who he is,’ Alwood told the news outlet. ‘People make mistakes, and that’s what this is. Yes, it was a horrible tragedy, but it’s still not something to throw his life away over.’
Katrina Alwood’s fiance, US Army veteran Jason Wall, 34, also died of smoke inhalation. Wall was father of two of the toddlers who died in the home fire. The alleged arsonist, Kyle Alwood, is Katrina’s child from a previous relationship
Kyle’s cousin Rose Alwood, 2, was staying with the Wall family and perished in the blaze
69-year-old Kathryn Murray was killed in the fire. Murray was Daemeon, Ariel and Kyle’s great-grandmother
‘Mommy was right here and I loved them,’ Katrina recalled telling her dying children. ‘You know, so, at least hopefully they heard that. I told Jason I loved him… And then something told me that they’re gone.’
Katrina also talked about hearing her fiance scream, and choked back tears remembering the moment the screams ceased.
Despite the heartbreak caused by her son, Katrina is hoping the judge will take into account his mental health problems and will show leniency.
‘I forgive him. I love him no matter what,’ the mom said of Kyle.
Her sister Samantha Alwood, who lost her baby daughter Rose in the fire, wants to see her nephew sent to juvenile detention and eventually to prison for his actions.
‘Because at the end of the day, whether he meant to or not, he knew what fire did,’ Samantha said.
Kyle has not been detained, but because of the death threats the nine-year-old boy has been receiving, he has been sent to stay with relatives in an undisclosed location. He is due back in court on October 21.
Woodford County State’s Attorney Greg Minger, who filed the charges against Kyle on Tuesday, said the juvenile, if convicted, could be placed on probation for at least five years but not beyond the age of 21, and would likely receive counseling.
He will not be imprisoned, if found guilty by a judge during a bench trial.
Samantha Alwood, Katrina’s sister and baby Rose’s mother, wants to see her nephew imprisoned
Katrina Alwood [left], says she has forgiven her son [bottom left in family portrait], for what he had done and she loves him unconditionally.
The criminal charges were brought against Kyle six months after the deadly arson fire, which broke out at around 11pm on April 6 at 14 Cypress Court.
By the time firefighters responded to the scene six minutes later, the trailer home had been engulfed in flames.
One neighbor told the Journal Star at the time that screams could be heard coming from the burning property, but the flames were too intense for bystanders to try and rescue the trapped residents.
Katrina Alwood and Kyle were taken to an area hospital and later released.
Minger said it was a ‘heavy decision’ to charge a nine-year-old with one of the most serious offenses there is, but he concluded that it had to be done ‘for finality.’
According to an online obituary, Jason Wall was a US Army veteran who served several tours of duty abroad, including in Iraq, Afghanistan and Korea.
After retiring from military service, Wall worked as a truck driver. He devoted his free time to hunting and spending time with his fiancee and their children.
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