14-year-old accused of killing mother will be tried as an adult - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

14-year-old accused of killing mother will be tried as an adult

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Jonathan Ray, 14, will be sent to adult court. Jonathan Ray, 14, will be sent to adult court.
The teen is charged with first-degree murder of his mother, Gwendolyn Wallace. The teen is charged with first-degree murder of his mother, Gwendolyn Wallace.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - The 14-year-old charged with starting the fire that killed his mother will be tried as an adult.

It was announced Tuesday that Jonathan Ray, 14, will be sent to adult court. The teen is charged with the first-degree murder of his mother, Gwendolyn Wallace.

Action News 5 chose not to reveal the teenager's identity until a judge transferred his case from juvenile court to the adult system. That happened Tuesday morning.

"It is by the evidence the best outcome the court determined," said prosecutor Dan Byer. "We certainly don't disagree. That's what we asked for."

Byer continued, "Jonathan Ray has been transferred to the action of the grand jury for appearance in adult criminal court. Juvenile court has terminated their jurisdiction over him."

Ray is charged with murdering his mother by setting the stairs on fire and trapping her on the second floor of their house.

Ray sobbed in court as the juvenile court judge ruled he cannot be rehabilitated.

If convicted in adult court, the teen faces the possibility of life in prison without parole, whereas a stay in the juvenile system would have freed him in five years.

His family, which has expressed their support for him, declined comment on the way out.

His defense attorney declined an on-camera interview, but maintains Ray belongs in the juvenile system.

"He knows it's bad. He knows it's not what he wanted. He knows he's looking at 51 years (minimum with life sentence)... And he cried, like a child."

The judge ordered Jonathan Ray be held without bond. His next court appearance has not yet been scheduled.

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