Teen accused of burning down home, killing mother appears in adu - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Teen accused of burning down home, killing mother appears in adult court

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Jonathan Ray, 14, was sent to be tried as an adult at 201 Poplar in June; he is fighting to have that ruling reversed. Jonathan Ray, 14, was sent to be tried as an adult at 201 Poplar in June; he is fighting to have that ruling reversed.
Ray is accused of setting his house on fire in early April because he was mad at his mother, Gwendolyn Wallace, who died in the fire. Ray is accused of setting his house on fire in early April because he was mad at his mother, Gwendolyn Wallace, who died in the fire.
Ray has not been indicted at this point. Ray has not been indicted at this point.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - The teen accused of setting a fire that killed his mother went before a judge Wednesday. Although, this time in court he was not judged as a juvenile but as an adult facing murder charges.

Jonathan Ray, 14, was sent to be tried as an adult at 201 Poplar in June; he is fighting to have that ruling reversed.

With his stepfather in the room Wednesday, Ray appeared in adult court for the first time.

"We think that Jonathan's amenable to rehabilitation, and that he needs psychological and psychiatric help. He could have gotten that in juvenile court, and that's what we're asking for," said defense attorney Rob Gowen.

Ray is accused of setting his house on fire in early April because he was mad at his mother, Gwendolyn Wallace, who died in the fire.

He is charged with first degree murder.

Gowen filed a petition asking criminal court judge James Lammey to send Ray back to juvenile court for another transfer hearing because Gowen claims the first was not sufficient.

"Mr. Ray is asking for extraordinary relief," said prosecutor Glen Beaty.

Prosecutors argued a criminal court judge can do no such thing, and Lammey agreed.

"I'm bound by what the law says. Not what I'd like it to be," he said. "Ordering this to be sent back for a more meaningful transfer hearing is not something that I have the authority to do. I don't have the authority to decline jurisdiction."

In other words, the 14-year-old will remain locked up in adult jail and face the adult criminal justice system.

"We're obviously upset with the decision, but we have other legal avenues that we're going to pursue for Jonathan," said Gowen. "Hopefully we'll be able to talk to prosecutors, maybe settle this case."

Ray has not been indicted at this point.

Prosecutors say the case will go before a grand jury soon. He is being held at jail east in a facility for teenage inmates.

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