Illinois boy, 9, charged with murder to be evaluated by experts after he 'started' fire that killed five relatives
The boy was allegedly responsible for setting a fire in the family's mobile home at Timberline Mobile Home Park on April 6. Most of his family members were wiped out while they were asleep.
WOODFORD COUNTY, ILLINOIS: A 9-year-old boy from Illinois who has been accused of murder after the death of several family members is set to be evaluated by a childhood trauma expert, NY Daily News reported. It is to determine whether the child, who has been charged with five counts of murder, is fit to stand trial.
“Based on my interaction and conversation with (the boy), as well as his age, I have a bona fide doubt as to his fitness to stand trial,” his attorney, Peter Dluski, wrote in a motion filed in Woodford County. The boy was allegedly responsible for setting a fire in the family's mobile home at Timberline Mobile Home Park on April 6. Most of his family members were wiped out while they were asleep. Only his mother Katie and he made it out alive. He was charged in October.
Daeman Wall,2, and Ariel Wall,1, who were the suspect's half-siblings, Kathryn Murphy, 69, their grandmother, Jason Wall, 34, Katie's fiance and her niece Rose Wall,2, died in the fire. The investigation has not revealed how the fire started.
The boy is also charged with three counts of arson and prosecutors say he set it on purpose. The judge in the case, Charles Feeney, questioned the need to hire an outside expert for a fitness examination when the court has typically used a doctor from the University of Illinois in the past. But Feeney ultimately approved Dluski’s request, along with a request for a private investigator to interview witnesses as Dluski prepared the boy’s defense.
His mother, who has lost custody of him, had said earlier in October that she didn't think he was a "monster". He is currently staying with relatives, as a suspect under the age of 10 cannot be detained under state law. On CBS This Morning, she said, "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."
She had also revealed that the boy had in the past shown interest in lighters and fire, adding that he was recently diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and ADHD. However, her sister Samantha Alwood, who lost her daughter Rose in the fire was not as understanding and wanted her nephew to be sent to juvenile detention and later to jail for his actions when he comes of age. "Because at the end of the day, whether he meant to or not, he knew what fire did," Samantha said.