The mother of a nine-year-old boy has appeared on TV, saying her son is no monster after he was charged with murder for setting a fire that killed five people.
Katrina Alwood appeared on CBS This Morning just two days after her sole surviving child, Kyle Alwood, was charged with five counts of first-degree murder, two counts of arson and one count of aggravated arson, accused of intentionally setting his family's trailer home ablaze in April.
His two half siblings, one-year-old Ariel and two-year-old Daemeon, died, along with his two-year-old cousin, Rose Alwood, his 34-year-old stepfather, Jason Wall, and his great-grandmother, Kathryn Murray, 69.
All the victims died of smoke inhalation after being able to escape the trailer.
Ms Alwood said her son had recently been diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and ADHD.
"Everyone is looking at him like he's some kind of monster, but that's not who he is," Ms Alwood said. "People make mistakes, and that's what this is. Yes, it was a horrible tragedy, but it's still not something to throw his life away over."
Ms Alwood said she stood at the window of the trailer and told her children she was sorry she couldn't reach them.
"Hopefully they heard that. I told Jason I loved him … And then something told me that they're gone," she said.
However, the fire has caused a split in the family with Ms Alwood's sister, Samantha, the mother of two-year-old, Rose, said Kyle should go to juvenile detention and eventually to prison for his actions.
"Because at the end of the day, whether he meant to or not, he knew what fire did," she said.
He is due back in court on October 21.