Teen who set fire that killed mom to be tried as adult - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Teen who set fire that killed mom to be tried as adult

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Fourteen-year-old Jonathan Ray, accused of killing his mother in a house fire in April, was transferred from Shelby County Juvenile Court to adult court to face a felony first-degree murder charge.

Ray initially confessed earlier in the month to Special Juvenile Court Judge Dan Michael he intentionally set fire to his house, killing his mother. Judge Michael, though, threw out his confession because the teen was not properly read his Miranda Rights.

Now that he will be tried as an adult, Ray could face a maximum of life in prison without parole.

Jonathan is being held in an area of Jail East in eastern Shelby County that is reserved for juveniles who are being tried as adults.

Teen charged with setting fire that killed mom

During testimony in juvenile court it was revealed through The State that Jonathan was angry over new house rules after he was suspended from school for misconduct. The April pre-dawn house fire burned the staircase, trapping his mother upstairs. Police say the teen disconnected the smoke detector.

The teen, who does not have a previous criminal record, was outside the house and watched the fire consume the house. A neighbor said Jonathan cried after he was asked who was in the home. He said his mom was inside.

The Shelby County Sheriff initially charged Johnathan with first degree murder and aggravated arson after an investigation into the fatal house fire in the 4700 block of Bethay.

Jonathan's mother, 45-year-old Gwendolyn Wallace died in the fire after being trapped on the second floor of the home.

James Wallace, the teen's father, had already left for work April 5 nearly two hours before the fire was set.

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