Appeals court: Judge can address murder charge

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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) -- The state Court of Appeals says an Apache County judge can rule on a request to drop a murder charge against a 9-year-old boy.

Apache County Superior Court Judge Michael Roca has said he wouldn't rule on substantive issues in the case until the competency of the St. Johns boy is determined.

But the appeals court says there is no law or rule requiring the court to hold off on addressing the request.

Prosecutors had asked Roca to drop one of two murder counts against the boy in the deaths of his father and another man.

Prosecutors filed a special action with the appeals court last month asking whether Roca abused his discretion by not ruling on a motion.

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