// Town Shocked After 8 yr old Boy Charged for Killing Father
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blackrose
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« on: Nov 09, 2008 05:02 AM »


Priest: Slain dad had taught boy, 8, to use guns
         
FELICIA FONSECA | November 8, 2008 11:03 PM EST | 


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ST. JOHNS, Ariz. — A man who police believe was shot and killed by his 8-year-old son had consulted a Roman Catholic priest about whether the boy should handle guns and had taught him how to use a rifle, the clergyman said Saturday.

The father, Vincent Romero, 29, was from a family of avid hunters and wanted to make sure the boy wasn't afraid of guns, said the Very Rev. John Paul Sauter of St. Johns Catholic Church. The boy's stepmother had suggested he have a BB gun, the priest said.

Romero taught his son how to use a rifle to kill prairie dogs, Sauter said. Police say the boy used a .22-caliber rifle Wednesday to kill his father and another man, Timothy Romans, 39, of San Carlos.

The priest did not say how he advised the couple but said Saturday that the boy "was just too young."

"That child, I don't think he knows what he did, and it was brutal," Sauter said.

The boy, who faces two counts of premeditated murder, did not act on the spur of the moment, St. Johns Police Chief Roy Melnick said. Police are looking into whether he might have been abused.

"I'm not accusing anybody of anything at this point," he said Saturday. "But we're certainly going to look at the abuse part of this. He's 8 years old. He just doesn't decide one day that he's going to shoot his father and shoot his father's friend for no reason. Something led up to this."

Story continues below 


The boy's father and stepmother had gotten married in September, said Sauter, who presided over the wedding.

Romero had full custody of the child. The boy's mother had visited St. Johns from Mississippi the previous weekend and returned to Arizona after the shootings, said Apache County Attorney Brad Carlyon.

On Friday, a judge ordered a psychological evaluation of the boy. Under Arizona law, charges can be filed against anyone 8 or older.

The boy had no record of complaints with Arizona Child Protective Services, Carlyon said.

"He had no record of any kind, not even a disciplinary record at school," he said. "He has never been in trouble before."

In a sign of the emotional and legal complexities of the case, police are pushing to have the boy tried as an adult even as they investigate possible abuse, Melnick said. If convicted as a minor, the boy could be sent to juvenile detention until he turns 18.

"We're going to use every avenue of the law that's available to us, but we're also looking at the human side," he said.

The boy's lawyer, Benjamin Brewer, said his client is generally in good spirits.

"He's scared," he said. "He's trying to be tough, but he's scared."

Police are also investigating whether there were any domestic violence calls to the Romero home in the past, Melnick said.

Officers arrived at Romero's home within minutes of the shooting Wednesday in St. Johns, which has a population of about 4,000 and is 170 miles northeast of Phoenix. They found one victim just outside the front door and the other dead in an upstairs room.

Romans had been renting a room at the Romero house, prosecutors said. Both men were employees of a construction company working at a power plant near St. Johns.

The boy went to a neighbor's house and said he "believed that his father was dead," Carlyon said.

Melnick said police got a confession, but Brewer said police overreached in questioning the boy without representation from a parent or attorney and did not advise him of his rights.

FBI statistics show instances of children younger than 11 committing homicides are very rare. According to recent FBI supplementary homicide reports, there were at least three such cases each year in 2003, 2004 and 2005; there were at least 15 in 2002. More recent statistics weren't available, nor were details of the cases.

Blessedgrandma
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« Reply #1 on: Nov 17, 2008 03:47 AM »

Isn't this sad?
What would make or lead such a young child to do such a thing is beyond me.
Has anyone heard any updates on this?
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« Reply #2 on: Nov 20, 2008 09:40 PM »

salaamz

Here is the update:
http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Story?id=6291493&page=1

I agree with the experts:

Quote
"I think that whoever is going to be representing [the boy] is going to knock that [the video] out with a feather," said Lynne Gold-Bikin, former chairwoman of the American Bar Association's section of family law. "Everything was violated. That's really outrageous."



and

Quote
"He should not have been questioned without an adult being there," said Meridith Sopher, who works in the juvenile rights practice at the Legal Aid Society. "I think as the interview progresses, there are clearly points where they should have stopped it and gotten him an attorney."



and especially this makes sense:

Quote
Lindstrom said it is possible the boy just followed along with the officers' occasional leading questions and statements.

"She'd ask him a question, get a response and then ask it again," she said. "When she said that she heard a story, that's when she's really kind of leading him."

The boy told police he often got in trouble at home for "lying," which brings the validity of the confession even further into question, Gold-Bikin said.

"Kids are very susceptible," she said. "Here's a kid who wants to please. First he says maybe. They had him change his story. Which part of it was the lie?"

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« Reply #3 on: Nov 25, 2008 03:59 AM »

Mom: Murder suspect, 8, 'loved his dad'
Arizona boy accused in fatal shooting of father described as 'good little boy'
   
• To updated 3:12 p.m. CT, Mon., Nov. 24, 2008
NEW YORK - The 8-year-old Arizona boy accused of fatally shooting his father and another man is a "good little boy" who loved his dad, his mother said Monday.

"He had a very good relationship with his father," the boy's mother, Eryn Thomas, told ABC's "Good Morning America." "He did a lot with him. They did everything together. He loved his dad."

During the interview, Thomas listened to the videotape of the boy's police confession and said she heard a "scared little boy. That's what I hear. Someone who's very afraid of what's going on."

The unidentified child was charged with first-degree murder in the Nov. 5 shooting deaths at his home in St. John's, Ariz.

Prosecutors on Friday sought to dismiss the charge stemming from the death of the boy's father, 29-year-old Vincent Romero, but did not explain why. Their motion, if granted, allows the refiling of charges. Attorneys would not comment because of a gag order.

The boy is also charged in the slaying of 39-year-old Tim Romans, his father's co-worker and housemate.

Videotaped confession
In the videotape of the confession, the boy sits in an oversized police chair, his feet dangling off the floor, and eventually admits that he pulled the trigger. As the video wraps up, he buries his head in his jacket.

"I'm going to go to juvie," the boy says after an officer asks what he's thinking.

Thomas said she's visited her son in the juvenile detention center, where on some visits they are separated by glass.

"He's in there by himself, definitely scared," she said, describing the boy as a "very small child" who is being housed separately from the older children.

Thomas lives in Mississippi. The boy had been living with his father and stepmother, who were married in September. Romero had primary custody of the 8-year-old.

Judge Michael Roca ruled that the boy could be released for 48 hours to spend Thanksgiving with his mother. Thomas said her son wanted to see the movie "Kung Fu Panda" and play games during his parole.

She described the boy as an average 8-year-old.

"He's very outgoing, he loves animals, he loves to ride his dirt bike, skateboarding, that sort of thing," she said.

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