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Hearing Set For Boy Charged In Fatal Goodfield Fire

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A hearing is scheduled for Thursday for a 10-year-old Goodfield boy accused of causing an April 2019 fire that killed five people.

The boy, who is the youngest to face such charges since 2006, was found unfit to stand trial in July by a court-appointed expert.

Woodford County State’s Attorney Greg Minger said Wednesday the state and defense are reviewing new information in the case, but did not disclose details beyond the procedural movement in the juvenile case.

At some point after Thursday's hearing to review the status of the case, a discharge hearing is likely to be scheduled, said Minger, where the state will present evidence related to the fire that killed four of the boy's relatives and his mother’s boyfriend. The issue at such a hearing is limited to whether the evidence supports the boy’s guilt.

If the judge finds the child delinquent, he will receive mental health treatment until he is found mentally fit to stand trial--a process that could take up to five years, according to state law.

The potential outcomes for the case include probation and court-ordered counseling for the youth. The state also could dismiss the charges.

The boy and his mother, Katie Alwood, survived the fire that broke out in a mobile home in Goodfield. Killed in the blaze were Jason Wall, 34, and two children, Daemeon Wall, 2, and Ariel Wall, 1. Alwood’s grandmother, Kathryn Murray, 69, also died in the fire.

The family had a long history of interactions with the state Department of Child and Family Services. After the fire, the agency sought protective custody of the boy as it opened its 14th investigation into the family.

Edith began her career as a reporter with The DeWitt County Observer, a weekly newspaper in Clinton. From 2007 to June 2019, Edith covered crime and legal issues for The Pantagraph, a daily newspaper in Bloomington, Illinois. She previously worked as a correspondent for The Pantagraph covering courts and local government issues in central Illinois.
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