Mother of 9-year-old charged with murder of five in mobile home fire says 'mistakes happen' but her son is not a 'monster'
Kyle Alwood was charged with five counts of first-degree murder, two counts of arson, and one count of aggravated arson after being accused of deliberately setting his family's mobile home on fire in April.
An Illinois mother has spoken out for the first time after her nine-year-old boy was charged with murder for setting his mobile home on fire and wiping out most of his immediate family. Kyle Alwood was charged on Tuesday with five counts of first-degree murder, two counts of arson, and one count of aggravated arson after being accused of deliberately setting his family's mobile home on fire in April. The raging flames near the village of Goodfield claimed the lives of Kyle's two half-siblings, Ariel, 1, and Daemeon Wall, 2. Other fatalities included Kyle's cousin, Rose Alwood, 2, his stepfather Jason Wall, 34, and their maternal great grandmother Kathryn Murray, 69.
The five victims died of smoke inhalation as they were stranded inside the family's trailer at Timberline Mobile Home Park. Katrina Alwood and her son Kyle were the only people who managed to escape the fire.
Alwood appeared on CBS This Morning on Thursday, asking people to not look at his son as if "he's some kind of monster."
The 27-year-old mother said Kyle had in the past shown interest in lighters and fire, adding that he was recently diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and ADHD. "Everyone is looking at him like he's some kind of monster, but that's not who he is," Alwood told the news outlet. "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."
During the emotional interview, Katrina recounted how she stood near the window of her burning house and told her children she was sorry she couldn't save them.
"Mommy was right here and I loved them," Katrina remembered telling 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."
Katrina is hoping the judge will consider Kyle's mental health problems and show leniency towards him despite his actions. "I forgive him. I love him no matter what," the doting mother said of her son.
However, her sister Samantha Alwood, who lost her two-year-old daughter Rose in the flames, wants 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.
Kyle, who will next appear in court on October 21, has been sent to stay with relatives at an undisclosed location for the meantime after receiving multiple death threats.