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Boy, 8, gives taped account in shooting deaths

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Prosecutor says he was obligated to release tape because it's a public record
  • Boy says he shot dad once, then again because "he was suffering"
  • In first part of tape released, boy says he came home and found men shot
  • Lawyer: Police didn't read boy his rights, questioned him without parent or attorney
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(CNN) -- An 8-year-old Arizona boy suspected in the deaths of his father and another man can be heard in a videotape of his police interview telling officers that he shot both men after he came home from school.

Authorities released the tape Tuesday.

The boy, sitting cross-legged in an overstuffed armchair, initially denied involvement in the shootings but later said he shot his already wounded father "because he was suffering."

The two officers questioning the boy press him to tell the truth, with one saying at one point, "If you're not honest with me, if you're not truthful, it's not going to look good." Video Watch boy describe scene »

The boy later appears to admit to shooting his father, saying, "After I shot him once he was still moving, I think I shot him again."

He says on the tape he shot both men twice.

Police released the first 12 minutes of the tape, which did not include the alleged confession, earlier Tuesday and released the remainder of the tape late Tuesday afternoon. Video Watch boy say he thinks he shot his "suffering" dad »

The boy is charged with killing his father, Vincent Romero, 29, along with Tim Romans, 39, a man who rented a room in Romero's home in St. Johns, Arizona. Police have said the boy confessed to shooting the men with a .22-caliber handgun.

At the end of the footage, the boy buries his face in his jacket as one officer asks, "You OK, sweetie?"

The officers ask whether the boy was mad at his father, but the answer is not audible.

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A judge issued a gag order in the case, preventing police, prosecutors or defense attorneys from commenting on it. Video Watch why the interrogation is troubling to a legal expert »

He later modified it, allowing public records -- which included the tape -- to be released, Apache County Attorney Christopher Candelaria said.

"We released it because it becomes a public record, and we're obligated to release it," Candelaria said, refusing to elaborate on why the tape was a public record in an ongoing police investigation.

The boy has not entered a plea to the murder charges. One of his defense attorneys said he was not read his rights and did not have an attorney or a parent present during questioning and said that was improper. Police have not responded to those claims. Video Watch Lisa Bloom say interrogators were leading the boy »

"They became very accusing early on in the interview," defense attorney Ben Brewer told The Associated Press last week. "Two officers with guns at their side, it's very scary for anybody, for sure an 8-year-old kid."

In the first 12 minutes of the tape, the boy tells police he decided to walk around the block "like nine or 10 times" before going home -- something he does on Mondays and Wednesdays "because my mom doesn't get off until 5."

He said he was about two houses down from his home when he saw a white car "driving pretty fast" in front of his house. Then, he said, he saw Romans lying on the ground. The boy said he ran over to Romans, then ran inside the house calling for his father.

"I said, 'Dad, Dad,' " the boy said. "And then I went upstairs, and then I saw him, and there was blood all over his face, and I think I touched it ... and I didn't hear anything, and I just saw blood and I cried for about 30 minutes, just crying right next to him." Video Watch police interrogate the boy »

On the tape, the child continued to deny being home when the slayings took place.

"You're sure?" one officer asks. "Because I heard something that somebody said that somebody was calling your name and you weren't answering."

The boy said he eventually ran to the house of a girl he knows and told her brother that his father was dead, "and so he called his dad ... and we called you guys."

Romans' truck was parked in the driveway, the boy said, and the door was open.


Police said last week they were attempting to discern a motive in the slayings.

"We solved the crime," St. Johns Police Chief Roy Melnick told KPHO. "Now we have to solve the mystery of why."

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