Ratanakkiri province authorities Tuesday were finishing the paperwork to bring to trial a hill tribe teen-ager who they say killed his brother and sister because he could not afford to feed them.
Romam Twin, 18, of Des village, O’Ya-daw district, faces 15 to 20 years in prison if convicted of intentional murder in the Feb 14 deaths of his brother Romam Hlin, 9, and sister, Romam Phlin, 7, Ratanakkiri provincial Court Clerk Ung Ken said.
In his confession, Romam Twin told police he killed the children because he could not stand to see them starve, Ratanakkiri provincial chief of penal police Chea Bunthoeun said.
Romam Twin, a farmer and an ethnic Jarai hill tribe member, had begged relatives and friends for money to help feed his wife and two siblings, Chea Bunthoeun said.
The suspect’s parents died the previous year, leaving him to take care of Romam Phlin and Romam Hlin, Chea Bunthoeun said. Desperate after not finding any help, Romam Twin decided to kill his siblings, Chea Bunthoeun said.
Romam Twin told his brother and sister to meet him at their parents’ graves, Chea Bunthoeun said. They met at the grave markers around 3 pm—Romam Twin carrying a vintage World War II rifle his father had hidden in the house, the chief said.
Telling the children to get on their knees and pray, Romam Twin stepped back and aimed the rifle, Chea Bunthoeun said.
“Please, children, go live with our parents,” Chea Bunthoeun quoted the teen as saying. “I can’t feed you.”
With that, Romam Twin opened fire, Chea Bunthoeun said. He shot each child once in the middle of the chest. Neighbors heard the two shots and came running, Chea Bunthoeun said.
They found Romam Twin slumped to the ground, weeping, and cradling his dead brother and sister in his arms.