On Wednesday, during the murder trial of a 12-year-old boy accused of killing his neo-Nazi father, emotions were high as the boy’s videotaped interview was placed as evidence before the juvenile court at Riverside, California.
The incident took place in May 2011, when the boy was only 10 years old. The videotape taken by the police after they arrested the scared boy who shot his father while he was asleep shows the boy saying “My dad was roughest on me … he kicked and beat me … didn’t want my mom to leave.” When he was questioned about what he was thinking before shooting his father, the boy said, “I should end things … I wanted everything to stop.”
The trial is being held mainly to find out whether the boy knew what he was doing was right or wrong. Riverside Police Officer Michael Foster testified as prosecution witness that the child expressed remorse after killing his father. He told the court, “He asked me things like ‘Do people get more than one [life]?”
The defense argued, that was how the boy was trained to react, considering that his sense of right and wrong was clouded by living in a house where meetings of the Nationalist Socialist Movement took place, beatings were regular, and guns were readily accessible.
Matthew Hardy, the defense attorney stressed that the boy was “conditioned” to kill and that the father had taught the child how to shoot guns, had taken him to neo-Nazi rallies, and at least once to the Mexican border to “make sure he knew what to do to protect this place from the Mexicans.” The father, Jeff Hall, was a local leader in the National Socialist Movement, and the trial has drawn the interest of neo-Nazis.
The prosecution says that the boy had killed his father because he believed the father was about to leave his stepmother (whom he thought to be his own mother), so he “found a way to stop it.”
Chief Deputy Dist. Atty. Michael Soccio trashed the arguments of the defense and said that the murdered man’s role as the regional director of the National Socialist Movement was immaterial and “a red herring.” The prosecution argued that the then 10-year-old boy was “no different than any other murderer” and he “would have shot his father if he was a member of the Peace and Freedom Party.”