Thursday, February 19, 2009

Nine-Year-Old Cops Plea in Double Homicide

A sad case no matter how you look at it. It seems pretty clear the kid doesn't understand the magnitude of what he did and will likely come to grips with the trauma at a later age. This avoids a circus that would have been a trial and he likely may only receive probation and will have a clean record when he turns 18.
A 9-year-old boy accused of methodically shooting his father and his father's roommate to death last fall pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of negligent homicide, settling the case that shocked and mystified the nation.

Under a plea agreement, he pleaded guilty in the death of the roommate and charges of premeditated murder for both deaths were dropped. Police said the boy used a .22-caliber rifle to shoot the men as they returned home from work Nov. 5.

The boy's plea spares the rural community of about 4,000 from what would have been an emotional trial and prevents the boy from serving time in the state juvenile corrections system or being tried as an adult.

He was polite in court and was never asked about to explain any motive for the killings.

The boy has not yet been sentenced. He could be sent to the county juvenile system, which would keep him close to his relatives. Apache County Attorney Michael Whiting wants the boy to undergo extensive mental evaluations and treatment, an option allowed by the plea agreement.

"It's a compromise — no one is really pleased," defense attorney Benjamin Brewer said after the hearing.

The boy's mother cried throughout the hearing and, through her lawyer, objected to the plea deal. But Superior Court Judge Michael Roca accepted it.

The boy was 8 when he was accused of shooting his 29-year-old father, Vincent Romero, and 39-year-old Timothy Romans, a co-worker who also rented a room from Romero.

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