9-Year-Old Facing Murder Charges


Mobile home after fire.

Sierra Wilson, Writer/Editor

On April 6, 2019, a mobile home at Timberline Mobile Home Park in Illinois was set on fire, killing five. The suspect, a 9-year-old child whose relations to the victims are unknown, now faces first degree murder charges, two charges of arson, and one charge of aggravated arson.

The fire was said to have started after 11 p.m., but by the time emergency responders arrived, the mobile home was swallowed in flames. According the coroner, the victims died of smoke inhalation (The Daily Beast).

Victims include 69-year-old Kathryn Murray, 34-year-old Jason Wall, 2-year-old Damien Wall, and 1-year-old Ariel Wall (Crime Online).

Due to the suspect’s young age, the charges caused a rise of controversy. Betsy Clark, president of Juvenile Justice Initiative, said, “The charges are completely out of line, given everything we have learned … especially about the brain development of children,” (NBC News).

If convicted, the child will only face probation for at least five years, but not past 21-years-old. “Probation, given the age, is about the only outcome that can happen here,” said Clark (NBC News).

The suspect is currently not being held due to an Illinois law stating minors under ten years of age can’t be detained. His or her location is currently unknown.

Details of the suspect, including gender and name, are being withheld from the public.