Memphis, TN -- A 14-year-old accused of starting a house fire that killed his mother could make his first court appearance Tuesday, as court records state a possible motive for murder.
Jonathan Ray was set to make his first court appearance on Monday, but the hearing was canceled because Ray was hospitalized. Reached by phone on Monday evening, Ray's dad, James Wallace, said the best he knew, Ray was at St. Francis hospital being evaluated.
Gwendolyn Wallace, 45, was found dead in her Shelby County home on Friday morning by firefighters responding to a house fire on the 4700 block of Bethay.
In an affidavit charging Ray with murder, investigators write Ray got into a fight with Wallace on Thursday night, "When Gwendolyn told Jonathan that he could not see his girlfriend for the next two weekends."
"Jonathan admitted that he went to the garage of the residence and retrieved a gas can, walked back inside the residence and poured gas out onto the stairs that lead to the second floor of the residence," the affidavit states.
The affidavit goes on to say, "Jonathan lit the stairway on fire with a lighter he found in the kitchen."
"I still don't believe in my heart that he woke up that morning with the intent to do harm to her, but it is just amazing how one wrong decision can alter your whole life," said Wanda Granville. Granville's daughter was good friends with Ray at school.
Wallace, Ray's dad, estimated Ray could be released from the hospital as early as Tuesday. Once he is, there will be a Juvenile Court hearing.
Ray is charged with first degree murder and arson.
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