RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A 13-year-old boy who became one of the nation’s youngest killers when he shot his neo-Nazi father to death as the man slept should be incarcerated in a state juvenile justice facility to protect him and the public, a judge was told Friday during a sentencing hearing.
As the baby-faced, blond-haired teen sat quietly in court, sometimes fidgeting in his chair or scribbling in a notebook, Deputy District Attorney Michael Soccio said the severity of the crime he committed at age 10 can’t be overlooked.
Soccio said the boy needs to be in a more secure system, with fences and locked gates, where he would receive the necessary treatment.
“He needs to be in a protective environment for his safety and that of others,” the prosecutor said.
The Associated Press has not released the boy’s name because of his age. He was convicted of second-degree murder.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Jean Leonard is expected to sentence the boy at the conclusion of the hearing sometime next week.
He could be sent to a juvenile lockup for as long as 10 years, although a juvenile justice official who testified said he could be paroled in seven years, perhaps even sooner with credit for good behavior.
The killing of Jeffrey Hall captured nationwide attention because of his son’s age and the father’s beliefs.
The 32-year-old unemployed plumber was a regional leader of the National Socialist Movement and organized neo-Nazi rallies at synagogues and day labor sites.
He had hosted a meeting for his group at his house the day before his son killed him on May 1, 2011.
Prosecutors say the boy shot his father behind the ear at point-blank range as he slept on a sofa after coming home from a night of drinking. The child later told police he was afraid he would have to choose between living with his father and his stepmother, who were headed for a divorce.
Attorneys for the boy have said he reacted after years of horrific abuse that left him with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anger and fear issues, learning disabilities and other emotional problems.
The lawyers deferred their opening statement until the hearing resumes on Tuesday, when they will have a chance to call witnesses. But outside court, defense lawyer Punam Grewal said the teenager was abused almost from the day he was born.