Prosecutors on Friday filed a motion to dismiss one of the 1st degree murder charges against the 8-year-old boy who is accused of shooting his father and another victim. The boy’s father, Vincent Romero, and Tim Romans, Romero’s roommate, died from injuries they sustained in the shooting.
According to police, the boy confessed to shooting the two men in their home using a .22-caliber rifle on November 5, 2008. They recorded his confession on video.
A CBS legal analyst, however, called the interrogation of the boy “absurd.” Lisa Bloom noted that children younger than age 12 are susceptible to telling adults what they want to hear during questioning. She pointed out that the boy’s confession came only after a police officer questioned him repeatedly and prior to that the 8-year-old denied shooting the gun that killed Romero and Romans.
The boy did not have an attorney, legal guardian, or parent present during the interview by the two cops who were armed, and he was not read his Miranda rights. Other legal and child psychology experts are questioning whether the boy’s videotaped confession will be admissible in court.
Prosecutors say the boy was interviewed because they initially believed he was a victim. An assistant federal public defender says the interrogation should have stopped once the boy became a suspect.
The boy’s two 1st degree murder charges were filed in juvenile court, but St. Johns Police Chief Roy Melnick says he will try to have the boy prosecuted as an adult. To date, however, an 8-year-old has never been tried as an adult in criminal court.
Trying Juveniles in Adult Criminal Court
Sometimes, the severity of a juvenile crime may allow prosecutors to charge a juvenile in adult criminal court, where the penalties are much more severe.
Lawyers Drop One Murder Charge Against Boy, CBS News, November 22, 2008
Experts Doubt That 8-Year-Old’s Taped Confession in Double Killing Is Admissible, New York Times, November 21, 2008
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In Massachusetts, retaining the services of an experienced Boston juvenile crimes lawyer is the best way to protect your son or daughter’s legal rights and combat any attempts by prosecutors to charge him or her as an adult.