Unbelieveable: Town stunned as 8-year-old charged in two killings

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Thread: Unbelieveable: Town stunned as 8-year-old charged in two killings

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    VIP Member Array JonInNY's Avatar
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    Unbelieveable: Town stunned as 8-year-old charged in two killings

    Town stunned as 8-year-old charged in two killings - CNN.com

    FLAGSTAFF, Arizona (AP) -- It's a crime that police officers in a small eastern Arizona community can hardly fathom yet have to deal with: an 8-year-old charged in the fatal shootings of his father and another man.

    "Who would think an 8-year-old kid could kill two adults?" St. Johns Police Chief Roy Melnick said Friday.

    The crime that unfolded Wednesday evening sent shock waves through St. Johns, a community of about 4,000 people northeast of Phoenix. The boy had no disciplinary record at school, and there was no indication he had any problems at home, prosecutors said.

    "It was such a tragedy," said the boy's defense attorney, Benjamin Brewer. "You have two people dead; you have an 8-year-old in jail. It tugs at the heart strings. It's a shocker, no doubt about it."

    On Friday, a judge determined there was probable cause to show that the boy fatally shot his father, Vincent Romero, 29, and Timothy Romans, 39, of San Carlos with a .22-caliber rifle. The boy faces two counts of premeditated murder.

    Melnick said officers arrived at Romero's home within minutes of the shooting Wednesday. 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. The two men were employees with a construction company that had a contract to do work at the Salt River Project power plant near St. Johns, which is about 170 miles northeast of Phoenix.

    The boy went to a neighbor's house and said he "believed that his father was dead," said Apache County attorney Brad Carlyon. Police later obtained a confession from the boy, Melnick said.

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

    "They became very accusing early on in the interview," Brewer said. "Two officers with guns at their side, it's very scary for anybody, for sure an 8-year-old kid."

    A judge has ordered a psychological evaluation of the child, who was being held at the Apache County juvenile detention center.

    Prosecutors aren't sure where the case is headed, Carlyon said.

    "There's a ton of factors to be considered and weighed, including the juvenile's age," he said. "The counterbalance against that, the acts that he apparently committed."

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

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

    City Manager Greg Martin said the community was "saddened" and "shocked."

    "Not something that happens very often and hopefully never happens again," he said. "It's been on their minds ever since it happened."

    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.

    Earlier this year in Arizona, prosecutors in Cochise County filed first-degree murder charges against a 12-year-old boy accused of shooting his mother to death.

    Under Arizona law, a juvenile under 8 years old is treated as a dependent child. Charges can be filed against anyone 8 or older, which Melnick argued are warranted in this case. He said the child didn't act on the "spur of the moment," though he didn't elaborate on what the motive might have been.

    Defense attorney Mike Piccarreta, who is not involved in the case, said each case has to be considered on its own merits, but it would be hard for him to comprehend that an 8-year-old has the mental capacity to understand the act of murder and its implications.

    "If they actually prosecute the guy, it's a legal minefield," he said. "And, two, society has to make a decision as to whether they want to start using the criminal justice system to deal with 8-year-olds. That doesn't mean you don't have a troubled kid."

    Wednesday's homicides were the first in at least four years in the community where most people know one another, Melnick said, noting that before that, no one had been killed there since 20 years ago.

    Romero had full custody of the child. The boy's biological mother was visiting St. Johns over the weekend from Mississippi, and returned to Arizona after the shootings, Carlyon said.

    Brewer, the defense attorney, said the child "seems to be in good spirits."

    "He's scared," he said. "He's trying to be tough, but he's scared."
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch; Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
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    Scared...I'd say he should be scared...he could get probation and a 'patty slap'.

    I realize that we need to know a lot more about this incident before really passing judgement, but we are not talking about a prank or some other serious misfortune...it was a double murder.
    As harsh as it may seem, I feel that unless it was an 'accident' (and it couldn't be two accidents)...the kid should spend a lot of time away from society.
    OMO...your may vary.
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    Distinguished Member Array Siafu's Avatar
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    As someone who has worked in the NYS Public School system I could see an 8 year old being angry enough to make a deliberate choice like the one mentioned in the article. There are plenty of young powder-keg kids out there. We don't know the details of his life. Was he physically abused? Was he sexually abused? Was he ODD? ADD? I hate the psychological labels as much as the next guy but when you see them up close you are left with no other alternative but to believe they do occur in very small numbers within the general population.

    And to do it with a .22! I would not want to be on the receiving end of my .22 but I think that unless it was a 1-shot-drop to the cranium it would likely take more to be fatal. And then to do it twice?

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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    Scared...I'd say he should be scared...he could get probation and a 'patty slap'
    I just heard on FOX news that they are considering trying the boy as an adult due to pre-meditation. Whether or not this was pre-meditated, its definitely a sad event for the family and the boy will have to live with the consequences the rest of his life. <head shaking>

    Note to parents: Keep your firearms locked up, store ammo locked up in a seperate location. Never leave an unattended loaded firearm in the house where there are kids present. Obviously, this makes home defense difficult at best.

    I guess my sig below is pertinent even though it was meant differently.

    >>---->
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    Distinguished Member Array Siafu's Avatar
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    I can already see the defense attorney spin: "Well judge, you see it was my client who witnessed the tenant shoot the father in a drunken meth-fueled rage and after he put down the weapon, my client saw an opportunity to save himself and avenge the murder of his father and shot the true perpetrator of this crime. You see judge, my client is a victim, not a criminal."

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    Age of reason

    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    Scared...I'd say he should be scared...he could get probation and a 'patty slap'.

    I realize that we need to know a lot more about this incident before really passing judgement, but we are not talking about a prank or some other serious misfortune...it was a double murder.
    As harsh as it may seem, I feel that unless it was an 'accident' (and it couldn't be two accidents)...the kid should spend a lot of time away from society.
    OMO...your may vary.
    Again, we don't know the whole situation, and it certainly appears deliberate, at least the second one, but the kid is an 8 year old. Eight year olds are incapable of understanding long term consequences, and incapable of making sound judgments. CHILDREN ARE NOT MERELY TINY ADULTS!

    If it was an immature 8 year old there might well have been no malice whatsoever; an 8 year old could easily have been doing nothing more than "playing" and with the expectation that his "victims" will get up, the same way Bugs Bunny and Elmer F. do after falling off a cliff, being hit with a hammer, or shot with Elmer's shotgun.

    I am not prepared to write off the life of an 8 year old no matter what he did. Even if malice was involved, it could not have been malice formed of adult judgment. Even if malice was involved, G-d only knows what the adults involved might have done in the way of abuse.

    This situation needs lots of investigation, lots of Solomon like wisdom, and lots of compassion for the kid.

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    Senior Member Array CEW58's Avatar
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    I'm wondering if it could be something like this.
    The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits. ~ Albert Einstein

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    Possibly, but I don't think so

    Quote Originally Posted by CEW58 View Post
    I'm wondering if it could be something like this.
    Possibly, but I don't think so. Note the big difference in age between this 8 year old and the two older boys in the case you linked to. In the case you linked to the older of the two was almost an adult. They acted in a deliberate attempt to put an end to the abuse. The act was rationale, though not legal.

    We don't know if the 8 year old was capable of forming any rational reason for his act. As I wrote above, the incident might have been the result of misguided play and childish fantasy rather than malice. The malice if present might have been over something trivial that only a child would explode over.

    We just don't know enough.

    Children need the loving protection of their parents and of society. And even if this very young child did a terrible deed in a deliberate fashion, he is deserving of loving and healing and a shot at growing up "normal" from all the adults involved.

    There is a good reason there is a juvenile justice system; and talk of trying a kid like this in adult court, or punishing as an adult, turns my stomach.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    Possibly, but I don't think so. Note the big difference in age between this 8 year old and the two older boys in the case you linked to. In the case you linked to the older of the two was almost an adult. They acted in a deliberate attempt to put an end to the abuse. The act was rationale, though not legal.

    We don't know if the 8 year old was capable of forming any rational reason for his act. As I wrote above, the incident might have been the result of misguided play and childish fantasy rather than malice. The malice if present might have been over something trivial that only a child would explode over.

    We just don't know enough.

    Children need the loving protection of their parents and of society. And even if this very young child did a terrible deed in a deliberate fashion, he is deserving of loving and healing and a shot at growing up "normal" from all the adults involved.

    There is a good reason there is a juvenile justice system; and talk of trying a kid like this in adult court, or punishing as an adult, turns my stomach.
    The reason I wonder is that I personally know one of the guys in the case I mentioned. The horrors they went through was beyond belief. Everyone in their small community knew about the abuse, but no one except their grandfather tried to stop it. Even the local law enforcement looked upon it as a "family thing" and did nothing till the shots were fired. A very sad story all around.
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    I can see how this could happen also, unfortunately.

    An example is my 10 year old nephew; son of a single mom, no father figure in his life (my Dad tries his best to be a surrogate, but he can't be there all the time) and a product of the public school system. He sometimes gets so enraged, it's frightening. I don't ever recall as I grew up anyone who got so angry that you feel a little scared being around them.

    Another example; my Stemother's Daycare. She reports that there is a meaness in the kids he has under her care that she hasn't seen in 30+ years of being in early childhood education and daycare. I'm talking kids as young as 1, 2 and 3 years old stomping, kicking, gouging each other and trying to really injure, not horseplay!

    It's just a reflection of society today, I'm afraid.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    Again, we don't know the whole situation, and it certainly appears deliberate, at least the second one, but the kid is an 8 year old. Eight year olds are incapable of understanding long term consequences, and incapable of making sound judgments. CHILDREN ARE NOT MERELY TINY ADULTS!

    If it was an immature 8 year old there might well have been no malice whatsoever; an 8 year old could easily have been doing nothing more than "playing" and with the expectation that his "victims" will get up, the same way Bugs Bunny and Elmer F. do after falling off a cliff, being hit with a hammer, or shot with Elmer's shotgun.

    I am not prepared to write off the life of an 8 year old no matter what he did. Even if malice was involved, it could not have been malice formed of adult judgment. Even if malice was involved, G-d only knows what the adults involved might have done in the way of abuse.

    This situation needs lots of investigation, lots of Solomon like wisdom, and lots of compassion for the kid.
    Hopyard,

    I see eight year-olds everyday that would amaze you with 'worldly knowledge'. They know the in's and out's of the system and have no regrets unless caught...then they still know how to play the system (parent taught).
    Not your typical 8 year-old, but there are some real bad ones out there.
    I can't say that this kid falls into that category without more info. But shooting a second victim leads me to believe this was anything other than an accident...definitely some pre-planning on the part of this kid. There are kids this age running the streets and breaking into homes. If one pointed a gun at you and said give me your wallet...if given the opportunity, you wouldn't defend yourself?

    Just throwing out some thoughts...

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    IMO, this kid should be put down, unless there was a valid reason that he offed two people. The alternative is to spend millions of dollars on trials, treatments and incarceration. Then we let him out when he's 18 or 21, and he kills again.

    Let me just state it this way - would anyone here want to adopt this kid, or associate with him in any way, even if he was supposedly "cured"?

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    He may not just get a slap on the hands. I lived in Michigan and I believe the boy was the same age where he laid in wait and shot and killed someone. They charged/tried him and he went to jail until 21 yrs old.

    He is out now and has been busted several times for various crimes.
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    Eight year olds can not forsee consequences

    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    Hopyard,

    I see eight year-olds everyday that would amaze you with 'worldly knowledge'. They know the in's and out's of the system and have no regrets unless caught...then they still know how to play the system (parent taught).

    ret
    I guess we somewhat live in different worlds. I know that there is an underclass and that "parents" (TV and more) teach kids stuff they shouldn't know. Doesn't that mitigate against the child's culpability?

    I just don't understand the concept of writing off the life of someone that young. Sure, if a kid pointed a gun at me I might try to break the rule of not drawing on a drawn gun, but that would be in the moment of crisis.

    Deliberately destroying the life of an 8 year old on a presumption that s/he is entire beyond redemption seem to me unnecessarily harsh.

    Dealing harshly with 14 y.o. street thugs is one thing. Here, where the child's immediate family was the victim raises all manner of intriguing questions about the whys.

    OTOH, my dad had a saying about people, roughly, the way they are at 7 is the way they will be at 70. Glad I'm not the judge, psychologist, prosecutor, parent, relative, older sibling, of this kiddo. I just hope The State doesn't pour gasoline on a burning fire.

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    Too bad it appears they blew the interrogation. The defense will get the confession tossed and then it will become two tragic accidents. Shot the first one accidentally, and the second victim asked what happened and he showed them with the same tragic results.......
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