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State Asks That Arizona Boy Be Returned To Custody

(AP Photo/Dana Felthauser)
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) Prosecutors have asked a judge to return a 9-year-old Arizona boy awaiting sentencing in the death of his
father's friend to juvenile detention, saying his family is failing to ensure that he and the community are safe.

Apache County Attorney Michael Whiting said the boy violated numerous conditions of his furlough, including leaving the state without permission and missing court-ordered schooling sessions. Defense attorney Benjamin Brewer said proving the allegations will be difficult, and he questioned whether they are serious enough to warrant the boy's return to custody.

"It's something they would have to prove, and I think they're going to have some hurdles in regards to that," he said.

The boy was a third-grader at a St. Johns elementary school when he was arrested in the Nov. 5 shooting deaths of his father, 29-year-old Vincent Romero, and his father's roommate, 39-year-old Timothy Romans.

The boy was out of custody when he pleaded guilty in February to negligent homicide in Romans' death. Prosecutors dropped charges in the death of the boy's father as part of a plea agreement.

Whiting said in a motion released Monday that the boy recently ran into a dugout to watch a little league baseball game, drawing protest from some players and their parents. He also said his mother, Eryn Bloomfield, disregarded a court order on his living situation and that his travels caused him to miss court-ordered schooling sessions.

Whiting said the boy's grandmother, Liz Castillo, also has asked police about buying a gun, but he was unsure of the purpose.

He said no conditions imposed on the boy, his mother or grandmother can guarantee his or his community's safety.

Defense attorneys denied the boy violated the conditions of his release. No criminal violation was cited in alleging the boy ran into a baseball dugout, and his place of residence and travels are out of his control, Ron Wood said in response to the state's motion.

"He should not be punished for involuntary conduct," he said.

A hearing has been scheduled for June 16. The issue likely will be taken up then.

Attorneys for Bloomfield didn't immediately return a call for comment Monday afternoon.

Under the plea deal, the boy won't serve any time in the state juvenile corrections system but could be sent to the county juvenile system. He will receive diagnostic evaluations and mental health examinations when he's 12, 15 and 17. The reviews are intended partly to determine whether the boy will pose any danger in the future.

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