A California boy was only 10 years old when he fatally shot his father, a regional leader of the white supremacist National Socialist Movement. Now 12, the boy, who’s not being identified due to his age, has been found responsible for second-degree murder.
His defense attorney, Matthew Hardy, argued that the child grew up in an abusive environment where he learned that killing people who posed a threat was an acceptable solution. Witnesses testified that the victim, Jeff Hall, 32, drank and did drugs and often beat his son. Social workers frequently visited the home, and at the time of the shooting, the boy was a dependent of the court.
Prosecutors argued that the killing was premeditated, and that the boy wanted to kill his father to stop him from splitting up with his stepmother, who initially confessed to the killing but then recanted. The boy’s younger sister testified that her brother plotted the killing days in advance. The boy, prosecutors told the court, had a history of violence dating back to the age of three, when he stabbed a teacher with a pencil. A psychologist testified that the boy’s biological mother did drugs while pregnant, which impacted the boy’s development.
In a videotaped interview with police, the boy said he didn’t think he would be in trouble because he had watched an episode of the show Criminal Minds where a child killed his abusive dad and wasn’t put in jail. Because he was charged as a juvenile, the boy will be in custody until he is 23. Now, the court must decide whether he be placed in a state-run juvenile detention center or a private facility that offers therapy.