8-Year-Old Killer Gets Residential Treatment for Shooting Dad and Friend

ST. JOHNS, Ariz. (CBS/AP) He was 8 years old when he confessed to killing his father, and his father's friend, at home. The weapon, say police, was a .22 caliber rifle. Now 10, the Arizona boy who pulled the trigger is being sentenced to a residential treatment facility.

The family of the boy, whose name was not released by The Associated Press because of his age, was pleased with the sentence. "You don't have a child and then turn your back on him,'" grandmother Liz Castillo said Thursday in asking Judge Monica Stauffer to impose residential treatment so her grandson can heal, cope and move forward.

Video: The 8-year-old Arizona boy confessing to authorities about killing his father.

In a confession to police soon after the killings, with no parent or attorney present, the boy said, " I think I shot my dad because he was suffering… I didn't want him to suffer."

A motive was not released but the boy told investigators he kept a tally of spankings. However, there was no conclusive evidence of abuse in the case.

Experts who evaluated the young killer said he would have been incompetent to stand trial because he did not have the mental capacity to understand the proceedings.

The boy was 8 when he was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his father, 29-year-old Vincent Romero, and his father's friend, 39-year-old Timothy Romans. He pleaded guilty to shooting Romans and the charges related to his father's death were dropped as part of a plea deal.

A Romans' family spokesman said justice had been served because the boy won't be able to leave the treatment facility. He also was sentenced to intensive probation until he's 18. "I think both sides got what they were looking for," he said.

The boy's treatment is expected to cost $3,000 to $4,000 a month, which will be offset by the boy's Social Security benefits that the judge ordered sent to the facility. He will undergo psychological and mental evaluations when he's 12, 15 and 17.

The boy's mother, Eryn Bloomfield, said she could make no excuses for her son or his actions and that he will have to live with knowing how many people he has hurt.

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK: Is residential treatment the right sentence for an 8-year-old killer?