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Grandma says boy was capable of killings

She says father & step-mom were too hard on the 8-year-old child

The Associated Press, November 26, 2008

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The grandparents of a young Arizona boy charged in the shooting deaths of his father and another man told police that the 8-year-old was capable of the crimes.

In documents released Wednesday by the Apache County prosecutor's office, St. Johns police Chief Roy Melnick said that Liz Romero, also known as Liz Castillo, shouted out angrily when she was told the boy would be arrested in the Nov. 5 killings.

"I knew this would happen," she said. "They were too hard on (the boy). I knew (the boy) did it. He spent the night in my bed cuddling up to me. I had a feeling he did it. If any 8-year-old boy is capable of doing this, it's (the boy)."

The boy's grandfather, Leroy Romero, echoed the statement and pushed his ex-wife to tell police more, but Melnick said she was overcome with emotion and the officers were asked to leave.

Police have said the boy planned and methodically carried out the killings of his father, 29-year-old Vincent Romero, and 39-year-old Timothy Romans, who rented a room in the family's two-story home in the small eastern Arizona community of St. Johns.

A status conference in the case is scheduled Dec. 8.

Boy had been spanked night before

In a police interview released last week, the boy said he had been spanked five times the night before the shootings because he did not bring home some papers from school. The boy told a state Child Protective Services worker that his 1,000th spanking would be his last, according to the documents released Wednesday.

In an affidavit for a search warrant, Sgt. Lucas Rodriguez writes that the boy tallied the spankings on a piece of paper.

The boy's defense attorney, Benjamin Brewer, said Wednesday that the boy's grandmother likely was stressed and that he plans to interview her.

In the documents, officers describe a quiet boy, who initially was not considered a suspect in the case. In the police interview, the boy admitted to firing at least two shots at each of the men.

Documents show that Romero was shot four times, and Romans was shot six times.

Judge Michael Roca granted a 48-hour Thanksgiving furlough to the boy last week over the objection of prosecutors. The boy is to return to custody by noon Friday or an arrest warrant will be issued for the boy and his biological mother, Eryn Bloomfield, Roca has said.

Roca has stipulated that there be no guns, knives, video games or cable television in the home where the boy is staying.

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