Child Charged With Five Counts of Murder

Can we really make a conscious decision on stating whether a nine-year-old boy who was the cause of a fire in Goodfield, Illinois, taking the life of his family members remain incarcerated for the rest of his life?  It is a complicated case for everyone involved, and the outcome, either way, is a tragedy.  The nine-year-old boy, whose name is not being released, was incarcerated for setting fire to Katie Alwood’s home, killing her fiance, grandmother, two-year-old son, two-year-old niece, and infant daughter on April 6 of this year.  The case went before the judge with prosecutors charging the boy with five counts of first-degree murder and three counts of arson.

Since the boy is a minor, not much is released to the public on what started the fire or where it began.  Authorities did, however, release the information it was Alwood’s nine-year-old son who was the cause of the fire.  Both he and his mother were the only ones to make it out of the home alive.  It is said the boy set the fire intentionally for reasons unknown.

Monday, the nine-year-old went before Judge Charles Feeney at the Woodford County Juvenile Court and was arraigned.  It was said the judge tried to explain to the boy what was happening in the courtroom on that day.  He asked the boy, “What don’t you understand?”  To which the boy responded, “What I did.”

As the judged paused almost every step of the way in the courtroom to explain the documents to the boy, it took a half-hour longer than expected.  The boy’s defense attorney would stop the judge and say, “Your honor, I apologize, he told me he doesn’t know what ‘alleged’ means.”  The judge responded patiently, “It means someone accuses you.”  The same would happen when the charges were brought up about arson.  The judge explained, “You knowingly set a fire.”

As the hearing adjourned, the boy broke down, crying hysterically as his grandfather escorted him out of the courtroom.  It is unknown if a plea was entered on Monday as the judge issued a gag order on the case by the request of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.  If the boy is found guilty, there is a maximum sentence of probation, treatment, and counseling.  The minimum age to be placed in detention is ten years old, according to Illinois state law.  The minimum age for prison is 13.  Prosecutors who handled the case against the child would have an adult in jail for the rest of their lives, even on death row.

The president of the Juvenile Justice Initiative in Illinois, Elizabeth Clarke, stated, “It’s very unusual.  It’s a shocking approach that the prosecutor chose to take.”  She also said, “There are no treatment options that open up. What opens up by charging is the possibility of punishment.  It’s only about punishment.”  Woodford County State’s Attorney Greg Minger and the public defender of the boy did not comment on the case.  Still, Minger did say, “It was a difficult decision because it was a 9-year-old…and all the way around, it was a tragedy.”

Alwood reported to the Journal Star, “The younger children were asleep when the furnace exploded, causing flames to engulf the inside of the home.”  She continued saying her “son ran next door, where his grandparents lived, screaming for help.  The five family members died of smoke inhalation.”  She stated her son “deserves forgiveness.”

The boy’s mother told CBS News, “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 also told CBS News, her “son had recently been diagnosed with a form of schizophrenia, ADHD, and bipolar disorder.”

Samantha Alwood, Alwood’s sister, who lost her two-year-old daughter in the fire, said to CBS News, “Probation would not be enough of a punishment.  I want to see my nephew incarcerated.  I think he should go somewhere until he’s the 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.”

It is a tough call, and it is hard to see her child go through this.  Both sisters lost their children.  We can only pray forgiveness finds them along the way.

259 thoughts on “Child Charged With Five Counts of Murder

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  54. All this talk is way too much wasted time. No info here. Was fire started accidentally or on purpose (willingly wanting to inflict suffering to someone)out of anger? Everyone must be held accountable in order to have a safe and civilized society. He must pay for the consequences of his actions. Question is why he started fire. That will determine therapy or incarceration.

  55. There’s no way, in my view, a reader can have any opinion except that this is a horrible tragedy. We do not have the insight. We do not know the child, we do not know the family, we do not know exactly what happened. The boy did show both remorse and lack of full understanding. Yes, I am sure he knew fire was dangerous. He was likely instructed by his parents not to play with fire. While I do believe there actually are dangerous-psychopathic children for whom rehabilitation is rare we have no way of knowing if this child falls into that category. I for one would require a lot more information to voice a worthwhile opinon.

  56. ” I want to see my nephew incarcerated. I think he should go somewhere until he’s the 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.”

    SHE HAS THE ANSWER!

  57. When the furnace exploded. That statement will show that the fault might lay with a faulty gas line.
    If there was another open flame (hot water heater) near the furnace and the child was playing in the same room.
    If the child damages the gas pipe and it came apart from the furnace.
    That is a different story.
    It is assumed that he started the fire either he did or he did not.
    Was he playing with matches? Was he smoking as his older siblings do?
    Before the media really starts to turn this horrible story into a news story that child needs taken
    aside and talk about what happened without the police putting words into this child’s mouth.

  58. When I was just a lad 8 or 9 years old my friends and I used to take a 3/4″ pipe nipple and a cap with a hole we drilled in it, we would stick the fuse of a 1& 1/2″ fire cracker through the hole and screw it onto the pipe nipple and then put grease on a small piece of cloth and push it down the pipe then put in BB’s or a marble and another piece of greased cloth on top of the projectiles and hold the the thing in our hands and light the fuse and point it at our little army men or a bottle or can. It was quite impressive. If our parents had ever found out we would not have been able to sit down for a week. None of us turned out too bad and no body went to jail ever although one of us died in a terrible car accident caused by a drunk driver. Without knowing the frame of mind of this youngster at the time it is hard to judge what the proper response to his action should be.

  59. This child may or may not have known the consequences of his actions. He definitely needs counseling, guidance and supervision. There’s a good chance he was unaware of the real consequences of his actions. Don’t give up on him. Place him in an institution with personnel willing to work with him. Nine years of age is much too young to prescribe and follow through with severe adult penalties.

  60. Excuses are like a**holes every body has one and they all stink, if this child had been raised right from his beginning there would have been no fire therefore no deaths, as a child I was even younger than nine yet I knew better than to mess with fire, I was taught that playing with fire could get someone hurt and if I disobeyed I would pay the penalty for disobeying, apparently this boy was all ways excused when he acted up so he never had to pay for what he did, this mother didn’t do him any favors, people with ADHD if corrected when they do something wrong will not give a parent trouble, as to what happens to this boy the judge and jury will decide and I wouldn’t want to be on that jury

  61. I AGREE to Adams answer of October 25, 2019 at 9:53pm. At 9 year’s old, the boy needs to have some-one that he can constantly trust and feeling completely comfortable for the people that questions him…And “he needs to do the talking if he wants to or if he can” while others need to be quite, keeping their mouth shut! No Yelling, Pointing or Blaming him! His mind gets mixed-up, his Emotion’s come and go, he doesn’t have any common sense or can think normally! Any Kid can be Possessive and Selfish of their Parent’s! Certainly, he should NOT to be Prosecuted! He wasn’t conscious of what the fire would do to other’s and maybe had a bad Flash-back thought, that his Mom shouldn’t be living with another man and was angry of both!

    He’s definitely Mal-Nutrition! I worked in California – starting in 1976 in Special Education for the Mental Illness, Down-Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, other Spinal Disorder’s, etc… All they had was Junk food filled with Preservatives and bad Chemical’s, which most was Sugar and Fat! We had a boy, 14 that was ADHD, very Hipper AUTISM, and I was the one in-charge of him every-day… I did Respite Care at his Home while his Mom & Dad went-out on week-end’s occasionally… His lunch and snack’s were Soda Pop, Candy, Potato Chip’s and White Bread (All Junk). Not his fault that he was UN-controllable with a Mental Disorder… At School every-day with Supervision our Kid’s that were able made their own Lunch! But every-day he would swipe his Lunch off the table – A very angry 14 year old!!! We did a lot of walking out-side, and I had to be careful for him not to hurt me or his-self! Walking calmed him down some! I had a lot of Patient’s and Energy! The other Teacher’s were afraid of him and I was only a Assistant Substitute Teacher and worked there for 9 year’s every-day!

  62. The article stated he intentionally started the fire (question is why, but it’s not revealed). The mention of a furnace exploding was made in the article, which makes me wonder what the boy may have done to cause this???
    Some children in this age group tend to have a penchant to “play with matches” as fire can be fascinating, although they may not fully comprehend the serious destructive nature when it gets out of control. The “think before you act” comprehension maturity may not be intact yet.

    Remember, he’s previously been diagnosed with at least 3 psychological diagnoses: Schizophrenia, ADHD & Bipolar Disorder. This also means there has been dysfunction within this family unit for him to have been labeled. So without knowing just how mild or severe his dysfunction played in the family’s dynamics, I think it’s not possible for any of us to give a “one size fits all” determination for punishment. I do agree that counseling is a “must” for him. I agree with Mike’s suggestion of community service in a burn unit.

    I can understand both mothers’ heartbreaks over losing their children and parents (the grandparents of the boy) as well as the boy’s aunt’s anger over the loss of her child. Whatever the outcome in this case, all parties should receive long-term counseling. Grief and anger are unproductive and destructive emotions.

  63. No matter what anyone thinks in regard to this case, the 9 year old will not be imprisoned and he will not be held beyond his 18th birthday. There is no chance that his case will be upgraded beyond the juvenile level.

  64. A 9-year old is incompetent to stand trial. Developmentally, unless he is the Mozart of crime, he doesn’t have the full comprehension of the ramifications of his actions. The charges are somewhere between stupid and malevolent. Involuntary manslaughter. Maybe. Voluntary manslaughter? Possibly. First degree murder? No.
    Seems like somebody’s grandstanding. Anybody running for office?
    First, we must ascertain exactly how the fire started.
    Exactly.
    Then the question is, how did the fire start? Did he start it? Did he start it intentionally? If so, why? Did he intend to cause the deaths? And does he have sufficient understanding of the that last one to FORM intent? (I doubt it.)

  65. How was the fire started and how was he involved? What did he do to start this FIRE through an explosion?!? Sounds like someone may need to start explaining how this happened, the mechanics of it, what may have been done, etc., THEN let charges be filed. Is a 9 year old boy CAPABLE of this?!? Did this just “snowball” out of his control, out of inexperience and was overwhelmed, not knowing what to do, etc.? . . . Just asking.

  66. I read a comment a ways back suggesting that perhaps he woke up cold and went down to the basement to restart the furnace. This possibility makes a lot of sense. If everyone was sleeping and he woke up cold. Maybe he had watched his father light the pilot on the furnace before and in his simple 9 year old thinking thought he could be a “big boy”. And go fix the problem. If the pilot was out but the gas (??) was still on, I would assume the furnace likely could explode. The child ran screaming to get help. He would likely have been so scared he did the first thing he could think to do. Maybe he was actually trying to be responsible (beyond his years) and trying to take care of his family. It is just a thought, but one that at least makes some sense. Innocent until proven guilty ? Some of you seem ready to hang the poor little guy with out a hint of compassion or reasonable thought. Perhaps his only crime was being an inexperienced little boy. Help yes, judgement, no.

    1. Teri, interesting scenario. The developmental features of a child at 9 years is industry and mimicking adult behaviors. We want to be useful and to make the adults in our lives proud of us. We want to be like adults in our lives. Very likely. It’s already a cold winter. We can best serve this child and his family with prayer and time for hearts to heal. From suffering to righteousness. To God be the glory!

    2. Most people believe whatever the media, the marketers, the schools, the police or the courts tell them without really questioning it. Whenever most people turn out to have been mistaken, they blame somebody else, often the messenger, for it. They usually forget the old proverb, “Trick me once, shame on you. Trick me twice, shame on me.”

  67. He must have set the fire out of anger and control of the self is minimum with the diagnosis of him having ADHD, Schizophrenia and Manic-depressive illness plus the fact that setting the fire, I do not think he knows that the furnace would explode that really cause the death of those people in the house. Where he needs to stay is in a psychiatric hospital and kept there with proper medication. I wonder whether he has been tasking medication to control himself. Sometimes soma parents would not like their child given anti-psychotic medication even if they need them

  68. Forgive the child and get him the help he obviously needs. He dose not understand what he did and cannot be held accountable.

  69. Never, eve should us kid see the light o day. He should be behind bars fortress rest if his natural life. If get gets a slap on the hand because o his age, that opens many doors for others to get rid of th people get hated. He belongs in prison. This us nit a case of turn the other cheek.

  70. C’mon, people. The kid was 9 years old, not 3. By that time, the average kid knows right from wrong. Many of you are hell-bent on protecting this kid because you have kids of your own. Here’s an idea – try thinking about the other KIDS he killed, and put yourself in the position of a parent of their’s instead. It’s amazing to me how we insist on blanket protection of all criminals who are minors without considering motives or state of mind. Without knowing if he meant to harm the victims, it’s hard to say what his sentence should be. This article doesn’t provide any insight into his motives. But any of you who say that a 9 year old isn’t capable of pure evil are just delusional, and we certainly don’t need laws forbidding prison for all minors, unless you favor a justice system with absolutely no justice.

  71. The article says the furnace exploded. No mention of what caused it to explode. What did the young boy do to cause the furnace to explode? There are to many unanswered questions to be answered before anyone could form an intelligent option.

  72. The fantasy world of television became reality. No commercial breaks will offset
    what this boy did. Institutional incarceration can be his and society’s only outcome.

    No one has questioned when the Hollywood Types will be seeking all rights to
    this incredible event for future showings on cable television.

  73. Before any one makes any comments, please check the parents, to make sure he was properly
    raised, that parents where not afraid of losing him to the system of Children and Family.
    We parents should be able to have more control of our children, instead of been afraid of the system.
    This child and family need a lot of prayers. It is not a easy situation every one is in pain.

  74. Era F.
    This comes from knolodge of growing up in the manner which I did.
    1- never going to school.
    2- never going to church.
    3- malnurshment tho i had something to eat 3 times a day.
    4- a dad that was hot headed with a mistress & 2 sons !
    5- mother was a work horse which was to tird to give attention to 9 children durning the great depression!
    6- did not have a chanse to live life as others children did , as knowing how to age !
    I am saying all off this to make a point that, we all grew up very insercure, not knowing how to be as we grew into adult hood , So that being said all these has a part in things we do that are against the law of the world and GOD ! So you think different , to do bad things if you take anything that alters the brain ! plus nursuhment !
    My thery is send him to a safe place along with his dad, ordering them to go to church of choice, 3 times a week, until they both come to a change of mind and heart ! This is what the child deserves and the only way he will grow up to be a law abiding adult ! THIS COMES FROM LIFE AND WHAT HAPPENS TO THE MIND IF NOT PROTECTED FROM THE EVELS OF LIFE !

    1. It’s not up to us in society to force people to find God or change their hearts and minds. That’s between them and God, and there’s no better time to find God than when they are sitting alone in prison. It’s also not up to us to offer forgiveness – that’s God’s job. Anyone who thinks otherwise is an arrogant non-believer.

  75. I say let the boy go and put the mother in prison!! By Gods law the little boy of nine years old isn’t yet accountable for his actions, the parents are!! It is a age of accountability when it comes to when God holds a child accountable for actions!! I am thinking the accountability age is 12 or 13 years of age!!! Go to the Bible you morons!! All the answers are there!!!!

    1. As I recall, the age of accountability was seven according to God’s law. Therefore, this nine year-old needs to be held fully accountable for the five deaths that he caused.

  76. At that age you know the difference between righ and wrong. If he’s found guilty then he should be incarcerated in juvenile detention work with burn victims then when he’s 18 life in prison doing the same thing.

  77. I think he needs consoling not jail . I don’t believe a child should not be put in jail. Like everyone else is saying he did not realize what the out come was going to be. Putting someone in jail is not going to fix it. Living with what he did is bad enough. We all did stupid stuff growing up thank god nothing bad happened to us or maybe it did but never got caught. He is young and stupid we all where when we where younger . Then again there are lots of adults that still are.

  78. Saddened and appalled at the comments I just read about this horrible situation. First of all to the the comment about ‘an eye for an eye’. …. that is NOT what the Bible says!!! Matthew 5:38-42…. Jesus said, “ You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also …….. ( suggest you continue to read this portion as well as the following verses to v48. It’s about loving your enemies and praying in for them!). This child is no ones enemy, he is a victim of being…. a child, who has learned a life changing lesson. He needs help, the families need help. God says to love him and pray for him… next time you choose to voice an opinion, get your facts straight and then take a good long look in the mirror. Suppose it was your 9 year old soon. Was he wrong? Of course he was, but that does not make him evil or wicked, it makes him a human being who needs lots of help.
    Matthew 6:14 says “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
    My opinion is that I will heed God’s instruction on the matter, He knows what he is talking about!

  79. No jail. We can’t really make good decisions because we don’t know his history. If he had no history of abusing others or animals, bullying others, firestarting, etc., then sentencing should be different than if he has history of things like this. He needs Dr. Phil type intervention. Heavy metal testing and a complete psych and nutritional work up. He needs extensive help. We don’t know if he was angry and plotting revenge on family members or if he was playing with fire due to fascination. Huge difference. Without this knowledge it’s ridiculous to pass judgement. Even without the mental problems they diagnosed him with before this happened, he would still need major help to deal with what he has done when he is old enough to realize the gravity of the situation. Prison punishment at nine is absurd. If later he is looking like the next Charlie Manson, then lock him up and toss the key. They all need prayer.

  80. A child that is diagnosed with schizophrenia, ADHD and bi- polar disorder,parents and doctors who diagnosed were responsible for the child’s welfare. Schizophrenia is disease that interferes with normal thought processes. There is a short circuit in the brain that interferes with cognitive function. Yes, he probably understood some things in his actions, but even Psychiatrists cannot ascertain which parts of the brain at what point in the disease occur. This child did not get the immediate intervention neccesary to prevent this tragedy. He did not commit this act of arson before he was diagnosed, so his doctors and family members were aware of his multiple mental problems. Inaction on their part is should be questioned. Many times families are in denial about severe disorders and don’t fully understand the implications and unimaginable tragedies that can occur.
    This young man needs mental health help.
    Punishment alone is just as cruel to this poor kid as the loss of his family.

  81. One can only guess that the adults believe, absolutely, that he set the fire knowing that those inside would be killed!? A nine year old? What is his history? Had he been physically, mentally abused? Is he below average IQ? I don’t know – it just sounds like a horrible outcome unless adults think he is fully aware, with no remorse and might do something like that again.

  82. Our primary goal as a member of society is to protect the innocent. With that in mind, the child should not be released back into the fold until many years of counseling have concluded with desired results.

    Although not enough information is provided in the article to make intelligent decisions about the true nature of the child, it is possible that he may be an example of what we commonly characterize as a “bad seed”. Such intrinsic evil does exist in this world but thankfully, it is a rare occurrence. The prognosis of success with treatment of such individuals is far from encouraging. Hopefully, this child does not fall within the parameters of such a diagnosis.

  83. this is truly a horrible happening. I never met the child so even tho lives were lost you are still dealing with a child that really didn’t know outcome of what he was doing.Every life is precious in every way. Alot of killings are intentional But also alot are not. this seems hard to believe it was intentional. still a lot of questions need to be answered from all who know the boy about his parents, his upbringing, etc. This is something that will truly affect the boy the rest of his life regardless what punishment he receives. The only one who really knows what the reason for this happening is GOD. I don’t think the child can give anyone a true reason for this. I don’t think he really knows.I think maybe he was caught up in his mind doing something he was supposed to not do as we all have and was not mature enough to truly understand what he was doing and the possible outcome of his actions.God gave his life for our sins. he for gave us. If God can forgive us with his life how can we not forgive? To find the correct answer for this happening turn to God.
    All answers you need or want is and has been answered in the bible

    1. I find that I agree with you my brother. At the end of the day there have to be consequences for our actions. I an a Viet nam combat medic who is 70 yrs old. I do not pretend to understand everything in life bu I doubt this 9 year old understood the full import of his actions. I love God and know he loves me. I also know that this is an impossible situation to properly adjudicate. In the the fullness of time I am sure that Jesus can redeem this entire situation.

      Be well my brother.
      (Welcome home)

  84. Obviously, the child needs treatment and hopefully, rehabilitation. Assessment must be o going to observe change, if any.
    This child may have to be incarcerated for the rest of his life and maybe not.. Neither his mind or body are fully developed.
    A child sees people die and reappear so many times and, often, they are not yet developed to tell fact from fiction.
    Life is precious. Five people are no longer with us and we should not be in a rush to make it six.

  85. when i was 5yrs old..i set the curtains on fire in my kitchen with matchs…dont know why i did it,,but as i look now,,i was being hit all the time and mental abuse…..i say no to life…the child needs mental help…..

  86. This child needs as much help as the adults that have done reprehensible acts that we know are given chances – they are incarcerated but are also given treatment for their mental illnesses – illnesses that triggers behavior we may never be able to
    accept or forgive. But this child deserves to be renewed, ( we
    will not know the triggers in his
    short life ) forgiven & given
    a new lease – our Father in heaven
    ask of that for all of us .. & for everyone of us .

  87. I can remember when I was nine years old and even thinking in a few more years I’ll be a teenager. I fully comprehended life and death. So to say this kid didn’t know he could possibly kill somebody by starting a fire is absurd. Unless this kid grew up in a bubble and never watched tv, he knew exactly what could happen by starting a fire. I’m so sick and tired of people making excuses for the actions of others, it’s time people take responsibility for their actions, period. Otherwise, It just seems that common sense is just not common anymore. There are those who have replaced common sense with “politically correct”, which will result in the demise of all. Wake up people, liberals in particular!

    1. How about you Debra? Is there things in your pass that you no one knows that you should have been punish for? What excuse do you have? It seems that the older we get. The more we forget the things we should have been punished for. Take your self righteous attitude somewhere else.

    2. If I did. Then I apologise. I just wanted her thing about her pass. For everyone has done something they were never cought for or punished for. Everyone should think before judging others. That’s all.

  88. It said something about a furnace. I doubt the boy knew the result would be a massive fire much less kill anyone. His thoughts would have been on a much smaller scale. It is so sad. I understand the aunt because her loss was so great. Yet, no matter what happens, her grief will not be appeased. I agree with Mike.

  89. At nine years of age you do know what you are doing. By then you should have learned not to physically hurt other people and help save someone’s life if you can, not cause their deaths. If he is mentally deranged it is a different story and he should have been watched much more closely, or placed somewhere where he could not harm others. Not enough of his background is given to make a call on this.

  90. In Victorian England the child would have hanged. Age was of no concern, just the law. However, in the U.S., I consider the loss of state owned psych hospitals a great loss. Were they still operative, it would be within one of these institutions this boy would spend a great deal of his life. Many of these hospitals were mismanaged horror shows, but I believe there is a case to be made for bringing then back. That’s a better solution than sending him off to adult prison later on to be buggered for life.

  91. How would a 9 yr old know how to cause the furnace to explode in order to do it on purpose? Without knowing all of the circumstances, I find it impossible to make a judgment of guilt.

  92. What is this child’s history? Does he taunt other children, poke sticks in the eyes of pets, hit adults when angered. No, I don’t think he deserves punishment only.

  93. Since it says he was diagnosed with a form of schizophrenia, adhd, and bipolar disorder , he needs neurological help and mental help. He may not have known what he was doing and that it would harm others and possibly himself. I am against what he did but do not think spending the rest of his life in prison is the answer. There are facilities that can help him with the issues that he has and help him understand the voices in his head that caused him to do this. He has to live everyday with what he did. He needs help in processing right from wrong. He should not stand trial or be placed in juvenile detention with others who knowingly committed crimes. He should be placed in a facility that can help him mentally until he is an adult and then stand trial for his crimes. Having been a Preschool Special Needs Teacher until retirement I will side with getting the child mental help do he can understand more about why he did what he did. Prisons are not for children.

  94. If he has those 3 problems, he needs to get treatment!! But on the other hand we don’t need him free to do it again!!! Incarsarat ;;; like the bible says an eye for an eye;;;; getting away from the bible is y the world is in this mess right now!!!!

    1. Ah,yes. What Holy Writ says. In this case, very similar to Sharia, the thing the “righteous” among us condemn. It appears many Christians among us have strayed from our founders Gospel. Heaven help us all!

    2. So true Richard. Many have walked away or forgotten the words Jesus spoke. This child may done this once and may not do anything again. And no one can say they are better than everyone else. A sin is a sin. Therefore, all of you have judged and condemned him. Therefore, I say as Jesus says; Judge not ,less you be judged. For by what judgement you judge others. You shall be “JUDGED”.

    3. Unless you are Jewish, the eye for an eye is not what it says. The New Testament knows Jesus who says we must forgive and keep turning the other cheek. I agree there has to be something done. the big question is what. Before we can even go in that direction, we need to know why he lit that match, assuming it was a match that started the whole thing. Was he cold and wanted to light the furnace? Was it something else? We know that no matter what, he needs help mentally. On the other hand, if those of you who want to put him down like a mad dog, why bother trying to help him at all. We get people off sentencing that are under 25 because their brains aren’t fully formed until then. So, why we allow people under 25 to vote is beyond me, however, if someone under 25 hasn’t got a fully formed brain, then how the hell do you expect a 9 year old to have that intelligence. If in fact, he has those mental problems, he needs proper meds and therapy. I am glad I will not be a part of what will happen to him. I know he needs more than probation and that he needs some sort of punishment, but death? I mean, one could think about abortion and figure if you can kill an innocent partially developed baby, it shouldn’t be too long before the same society says it is ok to kill children and old people. Hey, how about ridding our jails of all violent criminals and give the death sentence to all of them. I am not against the death sentence, but there has to be some standards.

    4. This explanation from Microsoft Bing is consistent with Jewish Law:
      ” “An eye for an eye” or the law of retaliation is the principle that a person who has injured another person is to be penalized to a similar degree, and the person inflicting such punishment should be the injured party. In softer interpretations, it means the victim receives the value of the injury in compensation. The intent behind the principle was to restrict compensation to the value of the loss.” ”

      The concept is to limit the magnitude of punishment to not exceed the magnitude of the crime, which was groundbreaking leniency in early history.

    5. That was the OLD TESTAMENT. Read the NEW TESTAMENT. If you’ve read the old testament and understand it. Then you should know why JESUS came. The old ways were done away with. And the new ways were put in place by the death of JESUS. So, who ever says; “an eye for an eye”, and lives by it. Has negated the new testament. No where does it say that in the new testament. Go back and read your Bible before you quote anything.

    6. It is amazing how little we all know about the system so I will tell you what I have learned. #1 – it is a for profit system that makes millions a year. Prisoners are no longer paid at some prisons for work because it is cheaper to pay the fine for not paying them under a dollar for their work. There is a separate area for children under 18 and they cannot socialize with prisoners over 18. The day they turn 18 they are packed up and moved in with the older prisoners to finish their sentence. They are required to attend classes until that time. Some prisons are worse than others depending on the level of the crime and all are rated at their crime level. I now know more than I ever wanted to know. They say there are so many laws on the books that the average person commits 3 felonies a day and they don’t even know it. My 13 year old cousin was shot in the face with a policeman’s shotgun by his other cousin whose father was a policeman. The boy was not punished and it was considered an accident. Some don’t think so. This type of thing tears families apart. Children do a lot of things they don’t think about. We need to think about what is best for the child mentally, physically and emotionally and pray the right people are in place to give him what he needs not what they want and need.

    7. Respectfully ask that you read on from that ‘eye for an eye’ thing you said was in the bible. Misquoting the bible is actually much more dangerous my friend.

    8. Since the death & resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are under a New Covenant which does not teach “eye for an eye”. The Apostle Paul, who was guilty of many murders of Christians, before he himself had an encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus, became “born again” with the mission to bring the New Covenant to the world. He preached two baptisms, one with water and one with the Holy Spirit. He fully understood the death & resurrection of Christ and the new life that they afford to everyone who so chooses. One can choose Jesus as their Savior, or they will meet HIM as their Judge! Of course, most of the Jewish community doesn’t see this at all, therefore they don’t agree or accept it. Such a pity because this great message comes from THEM!

    9. “An eye for an eye”…for a 9 year old? What if he were 8? Or 7? Fortunately there are special laws for children that take into account a child’s developmental age. There are fortunately laws for mental disorders. There are medications for schizophrenia, bipolar and ADDH. Once the brain is balanced and neurologically in homeostasis, a person with those disorders can function rationally, learn and behave within normal parameters of society.

    1. Vi, you are stupid….cast the first stone. The child was abused and or posessed by a demonic spirit,,,send his soul to the Father in Heaven,,,God can forgive,,man cannot counsel this out of him,,he will always be a threat…

    2. Jonathan, may GOD have mercy on you. You are self-righteous person. I will not lower myself to your low level bull. Just stop texting.

    3. Society has no choice but to judge this child’s behavior. I think the outcome depends on this child’s character and how he responds to his crime. During Old Testament times, he would have been stoned, along with anyone else adult or not, guilty of such a crime. The blood of Jesus Christ covers all sin, however, one has to be born again to understand this. All of us have a sin nature, Christian or not, but only the Holy Spirit can guide us and direct us.

    4. So what you are saying is that no human being should ever be punished for anything because all humans have “sinned” at one time or another. Yeah, sure. What could possibly go wrong?

  95. This was a deadly act, he needs counseling and perhaps a setting with other children who have counseling needs. A group home with counseling, he has a lot to comprehend and professional counseling will help.

  96. I’ve know a couple of people who were hateful and destructive as children and they grew up to be hateful destructive adults. I think the boy should be destroyed now. 5 people died because of him

    1. YES MARY Fisher,,,,he will always be a damaged person,,and will most probably kill again if allowed,,,,to live,,,God since he is so young,,GOD CAN FORGIVE,,man cannot punish or forgive the child so so sad,,,but it has to be dealt with.

    1. No he belongs in a place to get help! He didn’t know he was gonna kill those people! He is nine. We all did things when we were young that we didn’t know what the result would be!

    2. You are absolutely right and I think he will live with this the rest of his life to me that will be enough I have 9year old twins boys and we need laws to protect children for sure!! It was such a horrible thing!!

    3. I’m trying to remember, when I was in fourth or fifth grade, whether I could possibly know that “somehow causing” a fire could knowingly burn people. I decided that in kindergarten or first grade I knew a burn was very painful, and fire causes burns. I guess you’d believe I was just exceptional as a child to be able to think so far into the future.

    4. 2004done: agree. I knew at age 5 what a fire could do. I never played with matches or around fire. I can say I didn’t do anything that would have caused great harm to someone else. I knew better and I don’t think 9 yrs. old is too young NOT to know better. I did lie one time in 1st grade and learned a good lesson from that. When in anger, I would dream up retaliation but I was well aware of possible consequences and I didn’t want to experience them. So, I pretty much left all nonsense alone. I don’t think I was exceptional in any shape or form, but like 2004done, I suspect others might.

    5. This is so very heartbreaking. I remember when I was that age, I had no understanding of death. My dad died from cancer when I was 10yo I grew up without a dad. The boy will have to live with these terrible heartbreaking memories. I recall many things I did in growing up I wish I could undo but I can’t, but what I can do is ask anyone forgiveness, God’s and Man’s and I did, my dear sweet Mom helped me with understanding right and wrong Yes Deb, I agree the boy needs love and help to get through this terrible time.

    6. Do you watch TV? Some pretty crazy ideas on TV. I have a 9 year old grandson who has ADS. Sometimes he can be a handful.
      Who knows what goes thru the minds of children- especially with the crap on TV.

    7. that depends – were they Republicans or Democrats?
      Sarcasm intended in light of today’s idiotic attitudes

    8. Old Coyote: Sarcasm? Old enough to decide whether (s)he’s male or female for the next seventy years, but (apparently) not old enough to know arson can kill?

    9. I think the child is posessed by the devil or was severely abused,,,he will always be a threat. Take him to surgery and remove all the useful organs and skin and blood kidneys heart and lungs and pancreas,,,,give it to the ones that need these things and PULL THE PLUG,,,sad to say,,but someone has to say it

    10. I think Jonathan is partially right. He wasn’t possessed by the devil but he was under the influence of some demon. Demons are real, they exist. Read the bible. And they affect everyone someways, somehow in society.

    11. If he is not kept away from society, he will likely commit more crimes. Nine year old kids understand more than you think. It’s tough, but he has to be kept out of the general public for the public’s safety I don’t him running around my neighborhood.

    12. If he is kept away from society how will he ever be taught how to interact with others? If incarcerated with others that have committed heinous acts , then that will be all he knows. He must be placed in environment where he can be taught consequences of what one does are often unpleasant but that good comes with good decisions.

    13. MY NAME IS JOHN ALSO,

      THIS BOY NEEDS TO BE TREATED AS ONE WHO CAN BECOME A GOOD CITIZEN. INCARCRATION WILL NOT ACHIVE THIS.
      HE SHOULD BE PRIVATAVELY TUTORED TO FINISH SCHOOL AND RECEIVE NEURO-PSYCOLOGICAL COUSELING AND CHILD PSYCIATRIC HELP WITH MEDICATIONS FOR HIS MYRIAD MENTAL PROBLEMS. ANYONE, INCLUDING THE JUDGE, WHO CANNOT CONCLUDE THIS IS IDIOTIC MOROM.

      JOHN T

    14. No, at his age, he deserves to be loved, AND forgiven. He needs to be punished, I agree. But at his young age, putting him in prison with all the molesters, & pedophiles, is not the right thing to do. If they do put him in jail at this young age, he’ll grow up to be a monster. And do even worse things than he’s already guilty of. I don’t know what they can do, but, legally, they can’t put him in juvie, or prison. This poor baby needs help, not hatred. I raised 3 sons, & they were playing with matches once, & accidentally set one of their mattresses on fire. I dragged it outside, & as soon as it hit the air, it went up in flames, & nothing was left, but the springs that were inside. What I’ve never understood though, since we were across the alley from the police station, not once did anyone question us as to what was going on. My boys grew up to be decent men, & I’m proud of them. But, it could have been a tragedy, & all 3 of them killed. And, I have a nephew that was playing upstairs one day, & he set the upstairs on fire, not realizing what a disaster he could have created. It was bad enough as it was, but entirely accidental. His 2 brothers & his sister were upstairs in another room, but fortunately, we had enough time to get them downstairs, & all made it safely out. He was about 6 or 7 at the time. And, was traumatized by what happened. The police talked to him about it, but, the officer handled it very well. He made him aware that it was dangerous to play with matches, & told him to not do that again, but didn’t make him feel like a monster. The upstairs of the house was destroyed, & the downstairs was destroyed by the water that they used to put out the fire. But, the firemen, & police officers never ONCE tried to make him feel like a criminal. There ARE crimes that need to be punished, but at his age, he doesn’t need to be locked up with the monsters that are in prison. He needs to be put someplace where he can get help for his mental problems, then maybe sent to juvie when older, & then to prison. He not only killed 5 people, he destroyed HIS life as well. He’ll have to live with this the rest of his life, but, he needs to be treated compassionately, not turned over to our prison system that will ruin his life, & make him a worse criminal than he is now. Juvie isn’t a place that I would want a child sent either. The guards that work there are pedophiles, I mean some of them, & the kids are sometimes subjected to cruelty. This boy will spend the rest of his life paying for this horrible thing that he’s done, but mentally he is unaware of all the pain & suffering that he’s caused. All it will take to turn him into a horrible person, is to be treated wrongly, & cause him to have hatred, instead of remorse, in his heart. My heart breaks for the poor child, AND, for his mother & his aunt. His aunt lost her child, & his mother lost ALL of her children, including him, plus her mother, AND fiance. I just pray that God will bring peace to those involved in this. Hatred won’t help anyone. Poor baby does need HELP, but NOT hatred.

  97. Anyone claiming that they never did anything as a pre-teen or even as a teen, which they regret, could not have had a “normal” childhood growing up or they are just out right untruthful. At nine years of age, a child many times has no concept of many dangers or even comprehend the consequences of many actions. I do hope and pray that the judge has taken this into consideration and weighs all the evidence and laws that are in place which are designed to protect the children. My prayers go out, also, to the families that have lost their young and other family members.

    1. since nobody, was ever even injured with the stupid stuff i did i cannot say i have any regrets. yes it, would have been devastating had someone been harmed by my actions.

      but how many people, have died at the hands of someone who never intended to murder them? every-time a person, gets behind the wheel of a car the near complete majority never intend to harm anyone. making the difference between , first, second, or third degree murder.

      without knowing the spirit and intent, there is no way to determine how this should be dealt with. for what alleged reason, did he intentionally set the fire is crucial here. we, are not given any idea if anger, revenge, stupidity or curiosity is involved. so i essentially, have no comment as to what should be done here with insufficient information.

      but as a onetime child, i do know, there was infatuation of fire with me. nor did i realize the potential danger, it posed then. but i, don’t know about any of you.

    2. My question is this….at 9 years old if he’d picked up a gun and just started shooting around killing 5 people, would you allow for the same excuses? Is it his age, lack of understanding, or the act he committed that’s driving the decision making here?

    3. I would be even MORE lenient if a firearm had been involved because there are toy firearms, and firearms of various kinds are ubiquitous in the media, and heroes are often depicted blasting away with alacrity. Not so with setting fires.

    4. When I was 6 I found a 30-06 round in the garage of our house. My father walked into the garage just as I was figuring out how to hit the “back end” with a hammer. I didn’t know I would have lost my eyes, foot etc.
      I was fascinated with fire, and in the early mornings resuscitated workmen’s camp fires several times when I was 7,8 and 9. Then one day a fire got away from me! I didn’t know it could do that!
      As for me, the ability to forecast the results was poorly developed at that age.
      So in this case I’d say context is everything.

    5. There is a huge difference between doing something that one later regrets and killing five people, including children. He really crossed the line and I agree with his aunt. He should spend the rest of his natural life in prison. The victims did not get a second chance, so neither should he. His case should be an example that other youths can learn from, thus avoiding such tragedies in the future.

    6. Yes, there is a difference; however, DID he know he was doing wrong? What is the history here; had his parents ever told him about the dangers of fire? AND, for that matter, why was he left alone in a place where he was even able to start a fire? Who left the materials needed to start it? Why were they readily available to him? There are too many unknowns here to make such a harsh judgment!!

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  99. This kid did not fully comprehend what he was doing. Yes, he may have known he was starting a fire but did he know he was going to kill anyone? Comprehension of things is subjective and even today, as a 62 year old, I remember things I did as a kid out of mischievous behavior that cause me regret for having done them since now, I realize the unhappiness it caused someone, even though I didn’t intend that result. For this kid, a whole lot of counseling will be needed as he comes to grips with the reality of the horrific thing that he alone is responsible for. Yes, he needs to be punished so make him work for a year or two as a juvenile in a burn ward. Have him visit and do chores for burn victims trying to recover their lives after missing limbs and skin and faces. Have him be made fully aware of the horrors of arson and accidental fires and what the damages are that can be done to innocent lives. Maybe he will grow up and become one of the most awesome fire fighters ever.

    1. Maybe he didn’t know he was going to kill someone. Then again, maybe he did. Maybe he didn’t like the boyfriend, who was likely going to be his stepfather. Many children resent their Mother or Father getting married again. Could be they just don’t like the prospective step parent . Let’s pray that the authorities find the motive for his act and that he can be helped. It was a terrible act, but does a nine year old have the mental ability to process the consequences of his actions?. I know adults that don’t.

    2. John,
      You make excellent points.
      I concurr with 99% of your perspective. There’s much to be learned here yet. I think a deliberate measured pace should be observed by all means necessary.

    3. Really not enough info- the furnace exploded? What was the kid doing?
      Obviously not piling up news papers and dumping gas on them – in the living room. But maybe in the furnace.
      Just not enough info.

    4. **** CHILDREN ARE FASINATED BY FIRE, THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE DANGER OF IT, BUT TO THEM ITS INTERESTING…. SAD THAT SO MANY CITZENS JUST WANT TO LOCK THAT CHILD UP, ITS NOT ABOUT REVENGE.. HOW CRAZY IS IT TO LOCK UP A NINE YEAR OLD, WHO DID NOT REALIZE HOW BAD THAT FIRE WAS GOING TO GET.. I REMBER WHEN MY MOTHER FOUND TWO OF MY BROTHERS 7 & 8 HAD A SMALL FIRE IN THE CELLAR IN A EMPTY PAINT CAN. & THEY BOTH WERE LOOKING AT THE FIRE, THATS WHAT KIDS DO, THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE DANGER OF A FIRE..BUT ITS SOMETHING DIFFERNT??????? UNDER STAND CHILDREN DO NOT HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE THAT ALDUTS DO OR THE HATRED OF OTHERS THAT ALDUTS DO….

    5. Well said! I totally agree with what you are saying. And above all forgiveness needs to come in for all even the nine year old who needs to forgive himself

    6. I’m a mother of a now grown ADHD son. I have a lot of knowledge about this topic but I’m pure ignorant to the other issues, therefore I’m gonna speak about what I know only. To many parents feel pity for the child with the disability and they coddle them rather than teach them to overcome. I made my son deal with consaquences for his actions, from a young age. I’m not sorry in the least for the raising I gave him. He is a wonderful grown man, he reaches out to help people all the time. He did have the same issues but the he hasn’t been on the verge of the WRONG side of the prison walls, in fact he was a prison guard for a while. This young boy was not given the same opportunity now his life hangs in the air. Mom wants forgiveness for him, a lot of convicts receive forgiveness INSIDE prison. That is where I believe this youngster should ultimately reside after he has gone through the steps appropriate for his age.

    7. Well, it’s not black and white that much is clear. On one hand the law allows for culpability because he did set the fire. On the other there are obvious mitigating circumstances because of his lack of experience with life enough to grasp the breadth, the depth, the scope, and or gravity of most of if not all of the ramifications to his actions. I will say though that it is true that without ALL of the facts concerning his motive,(s), or his state of mind, that no one can render a sound verdict as to the degree of punishment, whether severe or merciful.
      I’m am put in mind of the poor slob that’s is asked to ride along, even become appointed designated sober driver for the eve ning only to find out he’s driving the get away car involved in a liquor store holdup where the clerk was shot to death! He’s still charged with murder during the commission of a crime even though he had no understanding what was taking place at the the time.
      A other thing that comes to mind is a verse in Leviticus that allows for a sacrifice for he that commits a sin unwittingly. That tells me that it is still necessary in order for forgiveness to take place that a sacrifice should be made regardless of how trivial. In this case I think it was two turtledoves.
      This is obviously a grey area of the law, and likely with scant few legal precedents. Although I’m sure there are some. The truth is it could very well be no legal statutes governing such an unusual case. It may very well come down to precedent law.
      Possibly with special conditions applied base largely on the progress of the defendant allowing for some future clemency for certain personal growth and development, mental health progress, and demonstration of godly sorrow, repentance, and rehabilitated socially acceptable values/ behaviour/conduct etc..
      I wish everyone involved in this tragedy Godspeed and wisdom.

    8. Well, it’s not black and white that much is clear. On one hand the law allows for culpability because he did set the fire. On the other there are obvious mitigating circumstances because of his lack of experience with life enough to grasp the breadth, the depth, the scope, the weight, and or gravity of most of if not all of the ramifications to his actions. I will say though that it is true that without ALL of the facts concerning his motive,(s), or his state of mind, that no one can render a sound verdict as to the degree of punishment, whether severe or merciful.
      I’m am put in mind of the poor slob that’s is asked to ride along, even become appointed designated sober driver for the eve ning only to find out he’s driving the get away car involved in a liquor store holdup where the clerk was shot to death! He’s still charged with murder during the commission of a crime even though he had no understanding what was taking place at the time.
      Another thing that comes to mind is a verse in Leviticus that allows for a sacrifice for “he that commits a sin unwittingly.” That tells me that it is still necessary in order for forgiveness to take place that a sacrifice should be made,.. regardless of how trivial it may seem. In this case I think it was two turtledoves.
      This is obviously a grey area of the law, and likely with scant few legal precedents. Although I’m sure there are some. The truth is it could very well be that no legal statutes exist governing such an unusual case. It may very well come down to precedent law primarily. Or, precedent law alone.
      Possibly with special conditions applied based largely on the progress of the defendant allowing for some future clemency for certain personal growth and development, mental health progress, and demonstration of godly sorrow, repentance, and habilitated socially acceptable values/ behaviour/conduct etc..
      I wish everyone involved in this tragedy Godspeed and wisdom.

    9. When you drive your car and make a mistake an excuse because he or she doesn’t know what the police said when given the ticket is : The disconnection of the Law don’t means that you can go free. Rightttttt? This boy at 9 Yrs old made a big crime. It wasn’t just something irrelevant, were 5 innocent that he killed. So my opinion is: he should go step by step until he gets age to pay for what he did I don’t care if prisons for life or die in the Electric Chair. He did it he should paying for that

    10. Mike,
      Who knows what this child will be when he grows up if he is allowed to grow up with a degree of normalcy. A 9 year old child is biologically a concrete operational thinker. A child’s brain has not shifted from right sided thinking to the mature left sided thinking processes. In the teen years as hormones change the mind begins to update knowledge from basic concepts to more sophisticated advanced thinking including clearer understanding of consequences. This child also has a form of schizophrenia, bipolar and ADDH. He needs professional help, counseling and a safe environment to transition from childhood to young adulthood. A team of health professionals would prescribe proper medications heal his brain and thinking processes. Prayers be with the families and their losses, his mother and with him.

    11. EXCELLENT IDEA! To make him understand what can and does happen because of fire will go farther than incarceration would ever do. Fact is, incarceration could create a criminal mind!

    12. Things were a lot different when you I were kids. We were much more naive and unwordly then. Today’s children are not as naive and they do understand to some extent consequences. Maybe not life behind bars but he has to be punished. Community service these days os a joke. Just ask the celebrities who falter and have to serve it so that’s out. Some kind of incarceration is in order. To not serve some kind of time sends a message to other 9 year olds that it’s ok to do that sort of thing because there won’t be any Penalties.
      .

    13. Community service for celebrities are a joke but not for us lower middle class, I’ve seen it.

    14. What? By 9 years old you know damn well that fire can kill, and explosion of ns of fire is often deadly. Even movies show that. This kid is a bad egg.

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