9-year-old child in the US charged with murder after fire that killed five
Very disturbing news from America.
Prosecutors in the American state of Illinois have charged a nine-year-old child with first-degree murder after a fire that killed five people.
The child has also been charged with two counts of arson and one count of aggravated arson. The child's name and gender have both been kept from the public.
The child was charged this week in relation to a fire at Timberline trailer park on 6 April this year.
The fire resulted in the death of three young children — including a one-year-old and two two-year-olds, as well as a 34-year-old man and a 69-year-old woman.
Police have not confirmed whether or not the accused child bears any relation to the deceased.
"It was a heavy decision,” Woodford county state attorney Greg Minger said.
“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 charges have been heavily criticised by other legal figures in the state.
"The charges are completely out of line, given everything we have learned ... especially about the brain development of children," said Betsy Clark, the president of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Initiative.
If the child were to be convicted, they would face a punishment of no more than five years of probation.