The mother of a nine-year-old boy facing multiple murder charges after a fire killed five members of his family has defended him, saying he is “not some kind of monster”.
Kyle Alwood is accused of starting a fire that killed his one-year-old half sister Ariel, two-year-old half-brother Daemeon, cousin Rose, also two, stepfather Jason Wall and his mother’s own mother, Kathryn Murray, at the family’s mobile home in Illinois, United States, in April this year.
The nine-year-old has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder, two counts of arson and one count of aggravated arson.
But his mother has defended him. Appearing on CBS This Morning, Katie Alwood 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 added: “I did lose my family too but I forgive him. I love him no matter what.”
She told CBS that Kyle had recently been diagnosed with a form of schizophrenia, as well as ADHD and bipolar disorder, but said he was a loving person who deserves a second change.
She also described telling her other children that she wasn’t able to save them - she and Kyle were the only people who escaped the blaze.
“I stood at the window and I told my kids I was sorry I couldn’t save them,” she said. “Mummy was right here and I loved them so at least hopefully they heard that. I told Jason I love him always and then something told me that they’re gone.”
Asked if she heard her partner screaming, she said: “I don’t know what’s worse, hearing him scream or when it stopped.”
The charges were brought against Kyle six months after the fire at the Timberline Mobile Home Park near the village of Goodfield, which broke out at around 11pm on April 6.
By the time emergency services arrived, the mobile home was engulfed in flames. All five victims died of smoke inhalation.
If convicted, Kyle could be placed on probation for at least five years but not beyond the age of 21.