A Father's Pain: Wife Killed in Fire, Son Charged with Murder, Arson

A Father's Pain: Wife Killed in Fire, Son Charged with Murder, Arson

"I haven't had time to cry or everything, it has just been so abrupt," James Wallace said, hours after losing the love of his life in a fire investigators say their son intentionally set.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - James Wallace is perhaps the saddest man in the Mid-South.

"I haven't had time to cry or everything, it has just been so abrupt," Wallace said, hours after losing the love of his life in a fire investigators say their son intentionally set.

"I just saw my wife this morning, I left for work at 4 o'clock this morning, I kissed her and told her I loved her, never did I knew that would be the last time I get to say those words," he added.

Wallace said he was at work when a neighbor called to report his home on the 4700 block of Bethany Drive in Southeast Shelby County was on fire. Wallace said the neighbor said he couldn't see Wallace's wife or son.

"Once I got here and saw what was all here, I knew. I just knew," he said.

According to Shelby County investigators, Gwendolyn Wallace, 45, was found inside the home.

"A little shaken up, I mean a lot of shaken up," he said. "We had a wonderful friendship, before we started dating, then a wonderful marriage."

Gwendolyn Wallace was a mail carrier, and Wallace says the two met on her mail route.

"I am going to miss my wife; that was my buddy, she was my best friend," he said.

Wallace said it wasn't until hours after learning he lost his wife, that he learned how the fire was set. Investigators charged their 14-year-old son with first degree murder and aggravated arson.

"He admitted that he was the one who set the fire after an earlier disagreement with his mother," Chip Washington with the Shelby County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

"I told my son I loved him, not going to stop loving him," Wallace said, recounting a conversation he had with his son at the Sheriff's Office.

"When it finally sinks in, and it finally hits him, it is going to be very hard on him, but I am not going to abandon him because of this," Wallace said.

Wallace confirms his son was set to return to 9th grade on Friday after serving a 10-day suspension. He said nothing could have prepared him for this.

"He hasn't really said us to why, but we feel it was not of an intent to hurt his mother at all, that was never the intent, we think it was more, of intention getter for himself, but then the fire got away from him, it was too late," he said.

"That is what I am going to miss most," Wallace said. "I could tell my wife a thousand times a day that I loved her."
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