In California, a 12-year-old boy is being charged with the murder of his white supremacist father, which he committed in 2010 at age ten, the Guardian reported. The case centered on whether the 10-year-old knew what he was doing when he shot his father at point-blank range as he slept on the couch. Prosecutors argued that this was a premeditated crime, planned by a child who understood the gravity of his actions.
The boy’s father Jeff Hall was a member of the National Socialist Movement and had a history of abuse. Defense attorney Matthew Hardy argued that because of an abusive and violent home environment, the boy learned it was okay to kill people who he didn’t like. He reasoned that the abuse would stop if his father were killed. Hall is said to have taught his son to use a gun on trip to do patrol on the United States-Mexico border. Under his home circumstances, the defense said, there was no way he could have understood why what he did was wrong.
Prosecutors said what they had on their hands was a violent child who carefully planned his father’s murder and knew there would be consequences. The boy’s sister confirmed that he planned his attack days in advance and in a videotaped statement, the boy said he’d seen an episode of “Criminal Minds” where an abused boy shot his father and didn’t go to jail. The prosecution also pointed out that the boy exhibited violent behavior as early as kindergarten, when he stabbed his teacher with a pencil. Hall’s neo-Nazi beliefs had nothing to do with the boy’s actions, prosecutors said.
Superior court judge Jean Howard heard the case without a jury and found the boy responsible for the crime, though the sentencing hearing will not take place for another month. The boy didn’t testify at the trial and is said to have showed no emotion when the decision was announced. If convicted, he will be the youngest person in California corrections. He faces 11 years of jail time, meaning he wouldn’t be released until age 23. The defense hopes the boy will instead be put into a program that offers counseling, medical attention and education.