AZ Juvenile Pleads In Murder Case

The nine year old boy accused of murdering his father and his father's boarder has admitted the killings in juvenile court.

"Did you, on November 5 of last year, do something really dangerous or risky and, as a result, did somebody die?" Roca asked in Apache County Juvenile Court. Yes," responded the boy, who was accused of killing his father and another man.

The plea agreement is here (pdf).

As to why the DA backed off earlier plans to charge the child in adult court: [More...]

County Attorney Michael Whiting said he agreed to the plea because Christian likely would have been found incompetent to stand trial. In that event, state law would have required the boy's release without any supervision or restrictions until around age 15, when he could be tried as an adult. Now, Christian faces judicial supervision until he turns 18.

Whiting also said he wanted to resolve the case for the victims' families "so they can begin the process of reconstructing their lives as soon as possible."

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    That, and the D.A. wanted to avoid the (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by scribe on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 10:41:59 AM EST
    embarrassment of cross-examination revealing the torture he'd put this kid through in order to get him to "confess".

    One is compelled to wonder whether the kid was made not competent to stand trial before, or after, the D.A. got his hands on him.

    Oh - and really good move on the DA's part, (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by scribe on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 10:45:12 AM EST
    not making the kid's name confidential on the .pdf or anything.

    Not bad enough that the kid had to suffer whatever it was he suffered in that house.

    Not bad enough that the kid had to (and will have to) go through the trauma of having killed his father and another.

    Not bad enough that the kid was browbeaten (or worse) into "confessing".

    Not bad enough that the kid was deemed, by the D.A., as "likely not competent to stand trial".


    We all get to know who this kid is and, of course, prevent him ever having any chance of living beyond the label which will follow him the rest of his life.

    Is there any evidence he was browbeaten (none / 0) (#3)
    by nyjets on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 12:44:11 PM EST
    Is there any evidence that the kid was browbeaten in confessing?
    Furthermore, the kid is a murder. He will always be a murder and honestly, nothing is ever going to change that fact. And whatever 'trauma' the kid is going through is nothing compared to his victims. THey are still dead.

    For goodness sakes (5.00 / 5) (#4)
    by Steve M on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 01:13:20 PM EST
    He's nine years old!  Is there any age below which you would concede that kids have diminished agency?

    honestly, I do not know (none / 0) (#12)
    by nyjets on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 03:28:05 PM EST
    I do think evil can exist at any age. Age alone should not determine whether evil exists.
    And while I can maybe buy the notion that killing his farther may have been an abuser killing his tormenter, what about the friend. WHy was he killed?

    The question isnt whether "evil" (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by jondee on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 04:02:27 PM EST
    exists, the question is at what age and under what circumstances does a CHILD have the capacity to make responsible, informed, behavior choices.

    We just got done (none / 0) (#17)
    by jondee on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 04:07:16 PM EST
    with a President who couldnt even do that.

    The f*cker sure could execute people, though.


    Hello? (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by MrConservative on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 01:14:49 PM EST
    Was anyone claiming it was?

    He's a 8 year old.  8 year olds are not miniature adults - a 8 year old isn't even capable of comprehending death.  This was a tragedy.  Torturing the child will not make it any better, and there's no good to be had out of it.


    Being dead (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by jondee on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 02:45:06 PM EST
    they're not "going through" anything presently.

    What would be good enough for you folk, a return to the Black Laws with public drawing and quartering?

    Is this always having to make someone pay some sort of cleansing ritual?


    If you'd go back, you'd have to note that (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by scribe on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 03:01:44 PM EST
    this child was spanked 1,000 times.  He kept a record, beginning from the time he could write.
    An 8-year-old St. Johns, Ariz., boy charged with double-homicide may have kept a written record of spankings by his parents, vowing that the 1,000th would be his limit, according to a police records released Friday.
    A search affidavit by Sgt. Lucas Rodriguez says the child "is believed to have made ledgers and or communicated in the form of writings about his intentions. (The boy) told a CPS. .. worker that when he reached one thousand spankings. .. that would be his limit. (The boy) kept a tally of his spankings on a piece of paper."

    Here's a commentary on the inhumanity of a parent who reached a total of 1,000 spankings of an 8 year-old boy.

    You commented on that thread, too.

    You would have to note that, and the interrogation of an 8 year old boy, alone, with neither parent nor counsel, by two gun-toting police officers who quickly became quite accusatory.  That was established early on.  But the D.A. pushed ahead with his crusade.

    You commented on that thread, too, saying (inter alia):

    If the kid shot the friend for no reason whatsoever, maybe the kid should be tried as an adult. It is possible for an 8 year old kid to be evil.

    No eight-year old should be held up in court or a police interrogation room as having developed enough reason and judgment to know whether they have a reason to shoot someone or not.

    You would have to note all that and more.

    It came out in one of the articles that

    One day after the killings, the boy gave police a statement which they have characterized as a confession. In it, he provided various explanations for what had happened, finally declaring that he had shot his father and the other man twice each to stop their suffering after they had been wounded by an unknown person.

    At the end of the interview, the boy curled into a fetal position and hid his face. When asked what he was thinking, he told investigators, "Going to juvie."

    Frankly, anyone who is willing to characterize a kid who'd been brutally abused as "Evil", as you did, should really take a step back and take a good, long, hard look at their own heart first, before opening their mouth or logging on.  We've come off 8 years of being governed by the idiocy that comes in the guises of there being people who are good and people who are evil and, worse, that there are still other people who know the difference and can judge it for us.  And, worse, the idea that there is no redemption possible for people who do wrong to others.  We all should have seen by now where following that sort of reasoning (to the extent one can call it reasoning) will lead to.  It's led us into the slough of despond that is the mess Bush and Cheney have left us.

    All I can take away from reading your comments on this case is that, after stripping away the fluff, you're looking for a way to take out revenge on that kid.  Why?  I don't know, and I don't care.  A kid is not an object for taking out one's own anger on.  That you want to speaks volumes.


    should not be tried as an adult, I do think we need to accept the facts.

    We really have no idea of whether the boy is telling the truth or not about the spankings.

    The boy never said he was spanked 1000 times, only that that was his "no mas" number.

    And, although he said he kept a ledger, no "ledger" was ever found.

    The search warrant return does not appear to list any kind of spankings ledger among items recovered from the family residence.
    Police searched the trash at the family's home for the tally sheet the boy said he ripped up before the shootings, but no such paper was found, authorities said.

    What we do know is that the murdered father was apparently well loved in the community:

    Hundreds of mourners packed a funeral Mass on Monday for Romero at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. Romans' funeral was scheduled for later in the week.

    Relatives and friends painted a picture of Romero as a caring father who seemed to be doing all he could to raise a polite and respectful boy.

    "They were always together doing things as a family, fishing, hunting," said Carlos Diaz, a cousin of Romero's current wife.

    The fact that overrides everything (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by jondee on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 04:48:00 PM EST
    is that we're talking about a child.

    It wouldnt matter whether he drove a forklift through a group of blind nuns or the entire Ayn Rand Society; we'd still be talking about a child.


    The problem with that logic is (none / 0) (#22)
    by nyjets on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 05:53:54 PM EST
    The problem with that logic is a person can get away with any and all crimes just because they are young. Sometimes children should be treated like adults with respect to there criminal actions. THe criminal acts and the kid himself/ herself should be the ultimate determintion with how the kid will be treated.

    This AZ nonsense is nutz. (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by wurman on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 07:00:00 PM EST
    It astounds me that this is a topic on a legal website.

    Juvenile Law from answers.com:

    In the law a juvenile is defined as a person who is not old enough to be held responsible for criminal acts. In most states and on the federal level, this age threshold is set at eighteen years. In Wyoming a juvenile is a person under the age of nineteen. In some states a juvenile is a person under the age of seventeen, and in Connecticut, New York, and North Carolina, a juvenile is a person under the age of sixteen. These age definitions are significant because they determine whether a young person accused of criminal conduct will be charged with a crime in adult court or will be required to appear in juvenile court.

    The accused is 8; the prosecutor is functioning in a vengeful mode that works against every aspect of modern juvenile law.


    If you honestly think (none / 0) (#27)
    by MrConservative on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 09:53:57 PM EST
    That children are exactly as responsible for their actions as adults, give them whiskey and the vote.  Your opinion is hysterical - a child can't be held responsible as an adult for a crime.  That is illogical and completely barbaric.  It's something that happens in the third world where people think with the part of their brain that the reptiles left instead of realizing the facts - an eight year old is incapable of understanding murder.  It shouldn't even BE a sentencing option until the child turns eighteen.

    John Wayne Gacy Was A Respected Member (none / 0) (#25)
    by Continuum on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 07:22:36 PM EST
    John Wayne Gacy Was A Respected member of his community.  And, then they found 30 bodies buried underneath his house.

    A lot of pain and sadness is hidden behind so-called respectable doors.


    browbeaten in jail, or at home? (none / 0) (#6)
    by DFLer on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 01:23:08 PM EST
    The boy told police that he had been spanked five times the night before the shootings because he didn't bring home some papers from school. While in custody, he told a state Child Protective Services worker that his 1,000th spanking would be his last, according to police reports. Prosecutors say the child was not prompted to make the statement and agreed with defense attorneys that anything said to the protective services worker should be suppressed as well.



    THe innocent bystander is what bothers me (none / 0) (#13)
    by nyjets on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 03:34:47 PM EST
    'Given the opportunity, he took matters into his own hands, and inflicted a disproportionate punishment upon the man, as well as upon an innocent bystander who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.'
    The innocent bystander is exactly why I think the kid should be punished. The fact that he killed his father, who may or may not have been an abuser is one thing, the fact that he kill an innocent person is why I feel he should be punished. Killing the innocent bystander in my mind suggests that there is something more to this kid than an abuser striking back at his tormenter.

    I just feel that this kid is going to cause a great deal of trouble for the rest of his life.


    There probably is (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by CST on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 04:06:25 PM EST
    "more to this kid than an abuser striking back at his tormenter"

    it's probably fear and he panicked...  

    I doubt an 8 yr old kid can think clearly at a moment like that.


    There aren't too many adults (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by vml68 on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 04:20:27 PM EST
    who can think clearly at a time like that let alone an eight year old kid.

    The Kid Is A Victim (none / 0) (#14)
    by squeaky on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 03:44:24 PM EST
    He needs help, not more punishment.

    Poor Kid (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 01:31:07 PM EST
    Did he ever really have a chance at a joyful existence?

    Yes, but not so long as he (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by scribe on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 03:06:38 PM EST
    was under the thumb of that monster called his dad.

    I'd bet he even loved his dad, and wanted to have his dad see and reciprocate that love.  And I'd bet that it might have hurt him even more than the beatings when - for whatever reason - his dad didn't, wouldn't, or couldn't do that and chose to stick with the monsters governing him and continue the beatings.

    I don't know whether he'll be able to recoup that chance now, even though all I believe tells me a joyful existence is always possible.  There may have been too much damage done.

    As the twig is bent....


    What Drove the Kid to Do This (none / 0) (#24)
    by Continuum on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 07:18:13 PM EST
    I wonder what is the story behind these murders?

    Why would an 8 year old be driven to do this?

    I was surprised to find his full name on the pdf, but I cried when I saw his childlike signature.

    As a parent how could you not feel heartbreak for this kid and what his life must have been like?

    Uh (none / 0) (#26)
    by Steve M on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 08:39:56 PM EST
    I just noticed that one of the terms of the plea agreement provides that "the juvenile shall have no contact with the victims or their immediate or extended family."

    Apparently the prosecutor's office not only considers it a viable option to try an 8-year old as an adult, they don't even bother to read their documents.  So let's see... he can't have any contact with the two dead people... one of them is his dad, so he can't have any contact with his mom... really?

    Why, do you suppose, (none / 0) (#28)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sat Feb 21, 2009 at 12:50:25 PM EST
    that this thread is rife with "what could possibly have driven the boy to do this?" yet on the Medic Found Guilty of Murdering 4 thread, not a glimmer of empathy.

    Obviously I'm not equating the two, don't even start with that.

    Very lame, su (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by jondee on Sat Feb 21, 2009 at 01:12:29 PM EST
    Does someone have to go through all the threads for the last few years to assure you of all the expressions of empathy that heve been made here for all the young soldiers placed in a murderous, cant-win situation?

    You Are Comparing The Two (none / 0) (#29)
    by squeaky on Sat Feb 21, 2009 at 01:09:58 PM EST
    I do not see how you can deny that. And it is an absurd comparison, imo.

    Sounds like the old (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by jondee on Sat Feb 21, 2009 at 01:17:41 PM EST
    "Why do you lefties disdain our brave fighting men so much?" Or is there more to it than that?

    No wonder you're so defensive.

    You dont get irony (none / 0) (#33)
    by jondee on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:18:21 PM EST
    apparently, su.

    I was lampooning your witness-for-the-prosecution tack on THIS thread.

    But, thank you for your service.


    For the record, (none / 0) (#34)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:19:38 PM EST
    my comment was directed to squeaky, not you.

    By clicking on the "Parent" link beneath a comment you can find out who that comment is directed to.

    Saves on misunderstandings.


    o.k (none / 0) (#35)
    by jondee on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:39:00 PM EST
    The old righteous hair-trigger was acting up again.

    Thanks for the heads up.


    No worries. (none / 0) (#36)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 01:08:54 PM EST