A nine-year-old child in the United State has been charged with five counts of murder after allegedly starting a deadly house fire which claimed the lives of five family members.
A 34-year-old man, 69-year-old woman and three toddlers aged 1, and 2, were killed when flames tore through their Illinois mobile home in April.
The gender of the child or their relationship with the deceased has not been revealed.
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Woodford County State Attorney Greg Minger told local news outlet the Peoria Journal Star that it was a “heavy decision” to charge the youngster with first-degree murder.
“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,” he said.
“But I just think it needs to be done at this point, for finality.”
The child has also been charged with two counts of arson and one count of aggravated arson.
Juvenile defense lawyer Gus Kostopoulos told USA TODAY the charges are “extremely uncommon.”
“I don’t remember any cases of a child this young being charged with murder going back 20 years,” Kostopoulos said.