UPDATE: Reaction from victim's widow on St. Johns guilty plea

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azfamily.com

ST JOHNS -- The 9-year-old St. Johns boy accused of double murder has pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in the shooting death of his father's friend.

UNCUT: Mike Watkiss talks to victim's widow
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Notification came in just after noon, more than two hours after the change-of-plea hearing was scheduled to start.

3TV's Mike Watkiss reported from court that the little boy, who has been out on furlough with his natural mother all month, was wearing a short-sleeved Western-cut dress shirt and blue jeans. That's in sharp contrast to the jail clothing and shackles he's be in for previous hearings.

Today's hearing was supposed to get under way at 10 a.m., but lawyers and the judge were still conducting closed-door discussions at 10:45 a.m.

The child's attorney, Ron Wood, confirmed Wednesday that the brokered plea deal involves a single charge as opposed to the two murder charges the boy originally faced.

A source close to the case told Watkiss that the single count would likely be negligent homicide, and that is exactly what happened.

The conditions of the plea deal include juvenile intensive probation, as well as the possibility of detention time. In addition, the boy will have to talk a couple of more doctors as part of a pre-sentencing evaluation. He will also have to talk to at least one other doctor when he is 12, again when he is 15, and again six months before his 18th birthday.

The boy originally had pleaded not guilty to two counts of premediatated murder in the shooting deaths of his father, Vincent Romero, and Romero's friend, Timothy Romans, on Nov. 5, 2008. He was just 8 years old at the time.

Those two charges have been dropped per the plea agreement that attorneys have been working on for the past month.

The Romero family has never talked publicly about the case and the Romans did not attend today's hearing.

St. Johns child murder suspect to change plea

ST. JOHNS -- 3TV has learned that a child murder suspect in St. Johns will be changing his plea.

Court was vacated Thursday, and will reconvene next Thursday where attorneys will announce the change of plea.

The official order in the St Johns case was filed at 2:20pm Feb. 12th and states the hearing continued from Feb. 12 and reset for a change of plea on Feb. 19th at 10:00am.

The child murder suspect is currently on furlough with his mother and will remain on furlough.