Prosecutor: Pressure was put on St Johns boy to say things

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Valley prosecutor reacts to interrogation tape
azfamily.com

PHOENIX - 3TV showed the tape of the 8-year-old murder suspect from St. Johns to an attorney who used to prosecute children in Maricopa County. He was absolutely surprised by what he heard and what he saw and not from the boy, but from the officers.

When the boy is heard saying, "My dad so I got my gun and shot him so he wouldn't suffer," Former Maricopa County Prosecutor Brad Astrowsky says it makes him angry as a prosecutor.

Astrowsky also says he is very disappointed by what he sees on the tape. "I'd like to side with law enforcement in this case. I'm looking for a reason to side with law enforcement. I can't do it."< /p>

He says there are several problems with the taped confession of an 8-year-old boy. Astrowsky explains, "They didn't protect him when distributed to the media and didn't protect him in the interview room."

Being a minor, Astrowsky says a legal guardian or legal representation should have been present on the boy's behalf but police say they thought the boy was a victim."

"If treated as a victim or child witness you don't have two people attacking him," Astrowsky says. He says he also has concerns about the good cop/bad cop approach when one officer is heard saying to the boy, "We need you tell us the truth really really bad so you don't get in any more trouble."

Astrowsky explains, "This is an effective technique for an adult. I'm not going to say it's coercion but certainly pressure was put on him to say certain things."

As for whether or not this kid will ever go to trial Astrowsky thinks not. He thinks most of this tape will be thrown out or will not be admissible in court.

Astrowsky even said the tape should be used, "As a training tool of what not to do."

Again, the attorney tells 3TV that as soon as the boy mentioned firing a gun officers should have immediately taken a "time out" and not continued until the boy had some representation present.

Also important to remember is that an 8-year-old accused of murder is a very rare event few have any experience with.