9-year-old charged with murder of five family members after starting fire

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A nine-year-old boy is facing charges of five counts of first-degree murder as well as several counts of arson following the horrific deaths of five family members.

According to reports, prosecutors present at a hearing at Woodford County Circuit Court allege that Kyle Alwood, of Illinois, intentionally set fire to his family’s mobile home resulting in the deaths of five members of his immediate family.

Reports also indicate that Alwood was escorted from the courtroom in tears by his parental grandfather.

CBS News reports, the fire, which began at the Timberline Mobile Home Park residence, is responsible for killing Alwood’s two half-siblings, two-year-old Daemeon and one-year-old Ariel Wall, along with his two-year-old cousin, Rose Alwood.

Also killed in the fire was Kyle’s stepfather, 34-year-old Jason Wall, and his 69-year-old maternal great-grandmother Kathryn Murry. Prosecutors said that they believe the victims were asleep when the fire started.

Kyle’s mother, Katrina Alwood, spoke to CBS News, stating:

“I stood at the window and I told my kids I was sorry I couldn’t save them, Mommy was right here and I loved them. You know, so, at least hopefully they heard that. I told Jason I loved him… And then something told me that they’re gone.

“[…] I don’t know what’s worse. Hearing him [Jason] scream or when it stopped.”

While Katrina believes that her son deserves to be punished for his crimes, she also would like him to be offered a second chance.

“Everyone is looking at him like he’s some kind of monster, but that’s not who he is,” she explained.

“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.”

According to Katrina, her son had recently been diagnosed with ADHD, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

Meanwhile, Katrina’s sister, Samantha, was much less forgiving. She told CBS:

“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.”

Alwood is scheduled to return to court on November 22 for a pre-trial hearing. Due to his age, he can not be legally held in custody between hearings.