A nine-year-old boy has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder as various counts of arson following the death of five of his family members.
At a hearing at Woodford County Circuit Court, prosecutors said Kyle Alwood of Illinois had intentionally set his family’s mobile home on fire, resulting in the deaths of the majority of his immediate family.
Alwood was reportedly in tears as he was escorted from the courtroom by his paternal grandfather.
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The fire at the Timberline Mobile Home Park residence killed Alwood’s two half-siblings, one-year-old Ariel and two-year-old Daemeon Wall, as well as his two-year-old cousin, Rose Alwood.
Alwood’s stepfather, 34-year-old Jason Wall, and 69-year-old maternal great-grandmother Kathryn Murray also lost their lives following the blaze. Prosecutors have said most of the victims were asleep when the fire began in April of this year.
As reported by CBS News, Alwood’s mother Katrina Alwood had been at the trailer home at the time of the fire, but had been able to escape.
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.
Although Katrina believes her son should be punished for the alleged crimes, she also stressed the family has suffered enough and believes the young boy deserves a second chance.
Everyone is looking at him like he’s some kind of monster, but that’s not who he is.
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 has said Alwood had been recently diagnosed with a type of schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and bipolar disorder.
However, Katrina’s sister Samantha – who was Rose’s mother – believes Alwood should face a strict punishment:
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 will return to court on November 22 for a pre-trial hearing. On account of his young age, he can’t be held in custody between hearings.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence, contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.