EUREKA – A Woodford County judge approved two motions on Friday in the case of the nine-year-old Goodfield boy charged with murder and arson. Defense attorney Peter Dluski requested the approval of funds to retain a Chicago-area doctor who will determine the boy’s fitness and to retain a private investigator.
Judge Charles Feeney granted both motions, but noted he might not approve the doctor later, as he emphasized the value of an objective and “meaningful expert.”
“I cannot put a lot of weight in somebody who has an agenda,” said Feeney, as he deferred to the attorney’s knowledge of the doctor’s expertise.
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State’s Attorney Greg Minger did not object to either motion, but noted the private investigator is Dave Frank, a retired police officer who works with the Metamora Police Department on a part-time basis,
“I think the investigator makes sense given the complexity of this case,” said Eureka attorney Andrew Lankton.
The boy is accused of setting a fire that killed five people in a mobile home near Goodfield in April. He is charged with eight felony counts that include five counts of murder and three counts of arson. The April 6 fire in the Timberline Trailer Court killed Kathryn Murray, 69, Jason Wall, 34, Rose Alwood, 2, Damaien Wall, 2, and Ariel Wall, 1. The boy was related to Murray and the children, while Jason Wall was his mother's boyfriend.
The boy's mother, Katie Alwood, survived the fire. She since has given up her parental rights. The boy is staying with foster guardians who are related to his father, according to information previously shared in court hearings.
The next hearing in the juvenile case has been scheduled for 3:45 p.m. Feb. 27, which should grant enough time for the boy's fitness evaluation.