Published October 04, 2013
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Authorities say a Memphis, Tenn.-area teenager has been charged in adult court with setting an April house fire that killed his mother.
The Shelby County district attorney's office says 15-year-old Jonathan Ray faces charges of first-degree murder and first-degree murder while committing aggravated arson.
Ray was 14 when he was arrested after the early-morning fire April 5. Ray's mother, 45-year-old Gwendolyn Wallace, died in the blaze.
Investigators say Ray used gasoline to set the fire on stairs that led to his mother's second-floor bedroom. Court documents say the teen acknowledged setting the fire after an earlier disagreement with his mom over his girlfriend.
Ray's case was transferred to adult court in June. His attorneys have said that Ray suffers from mental illness and needs treatment, not jail. He faces life in prison without parole if convicted.