Father Standing By Teen Accused Of Killing Mother In Fire

Posted on: 5:51 pm, April 24, 2013, by , updated on: 06:19pm, April 24, 2013

(Memphis) A 14-year-old accused of setting a fire that killed his mother was back in court Wednesday.

Johnathan Ray will have to wait a little bit longer to find out if he will be tried as an adult.

Today, his attorneys asked a juvenile judge for more time to look over the evidence and hire their own psychiatrist to evaluate Ray.

Meanwhile, the teenager’s father is talking about his son for the first time.

“That’s my son. I’m here to support him,” said William Ray.

William Ray and his sister traveled from Michigan to be by his son’s side.

Ray got the chance to visit his son and said he plans to be here for every court appearance, “That’s family. I understand what he did was a mistake. He probably didn’t know what he was doing at the time, but he’s still my son.”

Investigators say the teen admitted to starting a fire in his home after he and his mother got into a fight.

Firefighters were not able to get to 45-year-old Gwendolyn Wallace in time.

Ray is being represented by a team of attorneys from the Shelby County Public Defender’s office.

They are hoping he stays in the juvenile system.

“That’s a judicial determination. He’s at a young age with a serious crime and the law allows for someone who age to be transferred, but it does not mandate that he be transferred,” said Public Defender Gerald Skahan.

Ray is charged with 1st-degree murder and aggravated arson.

His next court hearing is set for May 15.