8-Year-Old Boy Accused in Arizona Shootings to Appear in Court

November 10, 2008

An 8-year-old Arizona boy accused of fatally shooting his father and another man last week will deny the allegations — the equivalent of an adult not guilty plea — today during an advisory hearing, one of the boy’s attorneys said Sunday.

The small eastern Arizona community of St. Johns was still reeling as police investigate whether the boy might have been abused and the prosecutor determines whether he’ll be tried as an adult.
“We are going to prosecute the child to the fullest extent that the law will allow,” prosecutor Criss Candelaria said Sunday. “Kids that age are rarely transferred (to adult court.) Of course, this case is different because it involves a double homicide.”
During a detention hearing on Friday, a judge ordered a competency evaluation for the youth. “Under Arizona law, a juvenile can be found incompetent to stand trial just because he doesn’t understand the proceedings,” said attorney Ron Wood, one of the boy’s lawyers.
The boy is being held at a juvenile detention facility, Wood said. “Right now, there’s no parent legally able or willing to take care of him,” he said.
St. Johns police say the boy used a .22-caliber rifle to kill his father, Vincent Romero, 29, and another man, Timothy Romans, 39, on Wednesday. The men worked together at a nearby power plant, and Romans rented a room in the home.
The boy, who faces two counts of premeditated murder, did not act on the spur of the moment, said St. Johns Police Chief Roy Melnick. He said investigators are looking into whether the boy might have been abused. “He’s 8 years old. He just doesn’t decide one day that he’s going to shoot his father and shoot his father’s friend for no reason. Something led up to this.”

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