Neighbors in Goodfield believe the 9-year-old charged with starting a deadly fire should be given a second chance

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GOODFIELD, Ill. — After months of investigation Woodford County officials are confirming a nine-year-old is being accused of murder and arson after a deadly mobile home fire in Goodfield.

The incident happened in April but it didn’t take long for authorities to determine the fire was set intentionally. They then ruled this case a homicide investigation.

On Wednesday we learned the boy is facing five murder charges, one for each person who died in the fire. Authorities also say he knew the victims were inside the mobile home when he set it on fire. 

However, neighbors are saying though this incident was tragic the charges seem a bit harsh.

 “He’s only 9 years old,” said Marie Chockley, neighbor. “I’m pretty sure a child would not set out to intentionally harm someone. He did not realize the implications or the consequences, and a bad tragedy came out of it.

Woodford County States Attorney Greg Minger said if convicted, the boy could be placed on probation for at least five years. He would also have to go to therapy and counseling and a psychological evaluation would be likely. 

Minger went on to say, because he is a minor, incarceration is off the table and not an option, something Chockley believes is fair punishment. 

“Some adults have had some things happen when they were younger and they grew out of it,” said Chockley. “Somebody nurtured them, and they have a very prosperous adulthood now.”

Chockley went on to say, though it was a tragic incident, it opened the community’s eye on the importance of guiding the young ones in the neighborhood.

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