Tennessee Teen Pleads Guilty in Death of Mother in fire

Jun 6, 2014

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A Memphis-area teenager has pleaded guilty to setting a house fire that killed his mother.

The prosecutor's office says 15-year-old Jonathan Ray pleaded guilty Thursday in Shelby County Criminal Court to second-degree murder and aggravated arson. The plea agreement calls for a 25-year sentence without possibility of parole on the murder plea and 15 years on arson, to be served concurrently.

Deputy District Attorney General Jennifer Nichols said the deal took into consideration the age of the defendant, who was 14 at the time of the fire, and the family's wishes. The case was transferred from juvenile court.

Ray faced life in prison, without release for at least 51 years, if convicted of the original charges of first-degree murder and murder while committing aggravated arson.

The April 2013 fire killed Ray's mother, Gwendolyn Wallace.