A nine-year-old boy reportedly diagnosed with multiple mental disorders appeared in court on Monday to face murder charges after prosecutors said he intentionally set in his family home on fire as his relatives were sleeping.
Kyle Alwood was charged in an Illinois court on five counts of first-degree murder and multiple counts of arson for allegedly starting the fire back in April.
His mother, Katie Alwood, survived the fire, but was unable to save her two children, one -year-old Ariel and two-year-old Daemeon Wall, as well as her two-year-old niece, Rose Alwood. Her grandmother, 69-year-old Kathryn Murray, and her fiancé, 34-year-old Jason Wall, also died in the blaze.
Prosecutors said most of the victims were asleep when the fire broke out.
She reportedly told the outlet her son was a “loving boy who deserves a second chance”.
"Everyone is looking at him like he's some kind of monster, but that's not who he is," she said. “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."
The prosecutor who filed the charges against the young boy said he stands by that decision, and that the nine-year-old would likely only face probation.
Ms Alwood’s sister, Samantha Alwood, who lived next door and whose daughter, Rose, passed away in the fire, said Kyle deserves to face justice for his alleged actions.
“I think he should go somewhere until he’s legal age to go to juvie,” she said. “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."
Ms Alwood reportedly told CBS News that while she believes her son should be punished, the judge should also consider her son’s mental condition.
“I did lose, you know, my family too,” the mother told the outlet. “But I forgive him. I love him not matter what.”
The nine-year-old was reportedly accompanied by his paternal grandfather to the court hearing and barely visible throughout the appearance.
A pre-trial hearing has been scheduled for 22 November.
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