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Illinois 9-Year-Old Charged With Murder In Fire Deaths Of Three Children And Two Adults

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It’s not every day we hear of a single-digits child being charged with murder.

A 9-year-old child from Goodfield, Illinois was charged with the deaths of a 1 year-old, two 2 year-olds, a 34 year-old man and a 69 year-old woman at the Timberline Mobile Home Park.

The fire was lit by the child intentionally, leaving Woodford County State’s Attorney Greg Minger in what he says is a difficult position.

“It’s a tragedy, but at the end of the day, it’s charging a very young person with one of the most serious crimes we have. But I just think it needs to be done at this point, for finality.”

The first-degree murder charges mean the burden of proof on the prosecution is to prove the child had an intent to kill in advance.

Gus Kostopoulos, a juvenile defense lawyer, said:

“Nine-year-olds don’t know that Santa Claus doesn’t exist. They don’t know people die and don’t come back to life. I don’t know if 9-year-olds can form intent to commit murder.”

The state does not proceed lightly in this case. But jail or even a juvenile detention center are not a consideration. State laws currently do not allow the incarceration of such a young child.

According to The Huffington Post:

“If convicted, the child could be placed on probation for at least five years but not beyond the age of 21…[and] therapy and counseling would be likely.”

The case is ongoing.

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Written by Mike Walsh

Mike is a writer, dancer, actor, and singer who recently graduated with his MFA from Columbia University. Mike's daily ambitions are to meet new dogs and make new puns on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikerowavables.