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MEMPHIS, TN – A teenager accused of setting a fire in his home that killed his mother appeared before a juvenile court on Saturday morning. The14 year old admitted to setting the fire that took the life of his mother, Gwendolyn Wallace. On Saturday any action on the case was postponed until Monday.
Fire investigators believe the teen set the fire at the bottom of the staircase with some sort of accelerant. They say after the fire was set it quickly grew and engulfed the family home in flames.
The teen has been charged with first degree murder and aggravated arson. His stepfather, James Wallace, says the teen’s behavior is “shocking” and that the young man obviously needs help. He says the teen has never done anything to lead him to believe that the 14 year old would be capable of arson.
“First reaction was not even anger, was more shock than anything, immediate shock and then the immediate knowing that we have to get him some help,” said Wallace.
At this point no one has offered any indication of what may’ve triggered the arson. The 14 year old remains in custody at juvenile hall.