A 9-year-old Illinois boy has been charged with five counts of murder for allegedly setting a fatal fire that killed five members of the same family, CBS News reports. Now, his mother is speaking to the media, saying that the lad is not a "monster."
Customarily, the news media does not print the names of juvenile criminal suspects. However, in this case, Katie Alwood has granted permission to the media to publish the name of her son, Kyle Alwood, who has been charged in this case.
Back on April 6, a fire broke out at a mobile home near Goodfield, Illinois. As The Peoria Journal Star reported at the time, five members of the same family -- Kathryn Murray, 69; Jason Wall, 34; Rose Alwood, 2; Damien Wall, 2; and Ariel Wall, 1 -- all died as a result of the fire.
"It was absolutely heart-wrenching, because you could hear the screams, and then, you didn't hear all the screams anymore," said a neighbor.
A couple of weeks later, according to a follow-up Peoria Journal Star report, authorities announced that the blaze had been set intentionally. At the time, Woodford County State's Attorney Greg Minger said that they had a suspect, but wouldn't say more due to his age.The Suspect
As it turns out, the suspect was a 9-year-old boy, now identified as Kyle Alwood. And in an exceptionally-rare case in the annals of juvenile crime, the lad was charged with five counts of murder.
Katie Alwood, who was in the home when the fire started but managed to escape, said that her son is not a monster.
"Everyone is looking at him like he's some kind of monster, but that's not who he is," she said.
She also noted that the boy has been recently diagnosed with schizophrenia, ADHD, and bipolar disorder. She described him as a loving son who deserves a second chance.
Samantha Alwood, Kyle's aunt, doesn't see it that way.
"I think he should go somewhere until he's legal age to go to juvie. Then I think he should go to juvie. And then from juvie to prison. Because at the end of the day, whether he meant to or not, he knew what fire did," Samantha said.
That's unlikely to happen, however. At most, says CBS News, he'll get probation. According to Chicago's WGN-TV, that probation will likely be for five years, and will certainly not last beyond Kyle's 21st birthday. He's also likely to get therapy and counseling.
Kyle Alwood's next court appearance is scheduled for October 21.