EUREKA, Ill. (AP/CBS Newspath) – A 9-year-old central Illinois boy believed to have set a fire that led to the deaths of five family members has been arraigned on first-degree murder charges.
The Journal Star in Peoria reports Woodford County Circuit Court Judge Charles Feeney on Monday read a juvenile petition citing the murder charges, along with arson counts.
“Everyone is looking at him like he’s some kind of monster, but that’s not who he is,” said Katie Alwood, the boy’s mother.
Feeney explained the juvenile counts and legal processes to the boy, who at times indicated he did not understand. The boy appeared to sob before being taken out of the courtroom by his paternal grandparents.
Feeney appointed a public defender for the boy.
The April 6 fire killed a 1-year-old, two 2-year-olds, a 34-year-old man and a 69-year-old woman at a mobile home park about 150 miles southwest of Chicago.
Alwood’s other children Daemeon and Ariel died in the fire. Her grandmother Kathryn, her fiance Jason Wall, and her niece Rose, also were killed.
Alwood was able to get out, but could not save the others.
“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. At least hopefully they heard that. I told Jason I loved him, I’ll always love him. And then something told me that they’re gone.” Alwood, the boy’s mother, told CBS News.
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