Prosecutors want murder charge dropped against boy

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All eyes on St Johns community

UPDATE: Friday, Nov. 21

ST. JOHNS, Ariz. (AP) -- The Apache County Attorney is seeking to dismiss one of two murder charges against an 8-year-old boy who is accused in the shooting deaths of his father and another man.

The motion filed late Friday seeks the dismissal of the first-degree murder charge stemming from the death of the boy's father, 29-year-old Vincent Romero. The boy is also charged with first-degree murder in the death of 39-year-old Tim Romans.

The motion explicitly allows the refiling of the charge if it is granted.

The prosecutor's office wouldn't explain its actions. The boy's defense attorney, Benjamin Brewer, declined to comment Friday, citing a gag order in the case.

Police in the small eastern Arizona town of St. Johns allege that the boy killed both men with a .22-caliber rifle in their home on Nov. 5.

UPDATE: Thursday, Nov. 20

ST. JOHNS -- A dependency hearing ended with the judge dismissing the petition on Thursday afternoon.

As long as the child remains in custody at the Apache County Detention Center, there is no rush to determine who will have custody of him and be his caretaker.

The 8-year-old boy is accused in the slayings of his father and another man in rural eastern Arizona. He faces two counts of premeditated murder in the deaths of his father, 29-year-old Vincent Romero, and 39-year-old Timothy Romans, who was renting a room in the family's two-story home in St. Johns.

The Apache County prosecutor's office released a police interview with the boy in which he admits to firing at least two shots each at Romero and Romans.

The boy's defense attorney has said he believes prosecutors will have a problem getting the boy's statements accepted in court because the boy was not represented by a family member or attorney during the interview.

The boy's health and state of mind was also the focus of Wednesday's hearing. The judge ordered DNA tests to be done and that X-rays be taken to make sure the boy was not abused. The judge also said the boy can be with his mom during Thanksgiving. He will be let out of the center at noon the Wednesday before Thanksgiving for 48 hours.

A counselor was appointed to the boy has someone to talk to while in juvenile detention.


New video of the interview police conducted with an 8 year old at the center of a double-murder case.

In the video, the child recounts shooting his father and the housemate whom he calls "Tim".

The dialogue is a big change in direction from the first portion of the video that was released, where the child talks about how he found the men dead already.

In his dialogue, the boy says he shot his father twice, and that he reloaded the gun.

Towards the end of the interview the 2 women ask the boy if what he is telling them is true.

He exclaims that it is the truth.

UPDATE: Monday, Nov. 17

ST. JOHNS, Ariz. -- New tapes show the police interview of the 8-year-old boy accused of murdering his father and another man.

The interview was recorded in St. Johns shortly after the two men were found dead.

Only 12 minutes of the much longer police interview tape was released.

In the clip, the young boy talked about coming home and discovering his father on the floor with blood on his face.

The audio allows listeners a chance to hear the boy's voice and gives listeners a sense of the youth of the 8-year-old child.

At the beginning of the clip, interviewers tell the boy that he should tell the truth, even if the truth is about anything "bad."

The young boy agrees.

He says that he started to walk towards his home and he saw the door opened.

He called for his father, and he went upstairs.

The boy then says, "And then I saw him."

The 8-year-old found his father with blood all over his face.

The boy says that he thinks he touched the blood.

This is all stemming from the turn of events surrounding the young boy and the two murder victims he claims to have found.

Police arrested the boy saying that he killed his father, 29-year-old Vincent Romero and another man, Tim Romans, a 39-year-old boarder at their house.

The tragic story has been continuing to capture public attention.

Police have been criticized for not reading the child his Miranda rights and for talking to him with no parent or legal representation.

Police have defended their actions by explaining that they were first treating the child as a victim, and it was not until later that they realized the boy would be the lead suspect in the double murder case.


Police have arrested a suspect in the killings of two men in the northern Arizona town of St. Johns.

Police Chief Roy Melnick said Thursday that a suspect will face charges in the deaths of Vincent Romero, 29, and Tim Romans, 39, of San Carlos.

He would not disclose any details about the suspect's identity because the person is a juvenile. The suspect is scheduled for a hearing Friday in Apache County Juvenile Court.

Authorities found both men in Romero's home Wednesday evening after someone reported hearing gunshots.

Melnick did not disclose how the victims were killed but a firearm was used.

The men were co-workers at the local power plant.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)