Teen to be Tried as Adult for Mother's Arson Death

Teen to be Tried as Adult for Mother's Arson Death

A 14-year-old will be tried as an adult for setting a fire at his southeast Shelby County home that killed his own mother.
MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com) - A 14-year-old will be tried as an adult for setting a fire at his southeast Shelby County home that killed his own mother.

Firefighters were called to the 4700-block of Bethay near East Shelby Drive just before 6:30 a.m. on Friday, April 5. Once the fire was knocked down, they found the body of 45-year-old Gwendolyn Wallace in an upstairs bedroom.

Wallace's 14-year-old son, Jonathan Ray, later admitted to setting the fire after a fight with his mother, but a juvenile court judge threw out his confession at a June 12 court hearing because Ray wasn't read his Miranda rights.

Investigators stated Ray poured gasoline at the bottom of the stairs and lit a match, trapping his mother inside. He also disconnected all of the smoke detectors in the home.

On June 25, a juvenile court judge ruled Jonathan Ray would be tried as an adult on charges of First Degree Murder and Aggravated Arson. He is being held at the Shelby County Jail without bond.

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