The stepmother of a 10-year-old Riverside boy accused of fatally shooting his father, a local neo-Nazi activist, was charged Tuesday with child endangerment and failure to properly store a firearm.
Krista F. McCary and her husband, Jeffrey R. Hall, 32, whom the boy allegedly shot, recklessly stored the loaded handgun on a shelf in the house where their five children had easy access to the weapon, said Assistant Dist. Atty. Ambrosio E. Rodriguez.
"There are going to be consequences for anyone who leaves a .357 magnum within easy reach of their small children, especially when that gun kills someone,'' said Rodriguez, the prosecutor in the case. "It's like playing Russian roulette.''
The 10-year-old boy is scheduled to come before a Riverside County Juvenile Court judge Wednesday morning for a detention hearing, at which he is expected to enter a plea. On May 5, the boy's attorney told the judge he may pursue a defense of not guilty by reason of insanity.
The boy has been charged as a juvenile in the shooting death of his father, a regional director for the National Socialist Movement. Hall was shot about 4 a.m. May 1 on the family's living room couch. Detectives believe the shooting was an "intentional act."
McCary, 26, has been charged with five counts of child endangerment and four counts of criminal storage of a firearm.
"The gun didn't have a trigger lock and was not in a lock box as required by law. It was fully loaded," Rodriguez said. "The children knew where it was, and the children could easily access this gun.''
Rodriguez said state laws protecting juveniles bar him from discussing details of the shooting until after Wednesday's hearing.
Two of Hall's children are from a previous marriage, including the 10-year-old boy. According to court records, the boy had a history of aggression and violence after his parents went through a bitter divorce, during which Hall and his ex-wife, Leticia Neal of Spokane, Wash., accused each other of abusing and neglecting the children.
Hall was granted full custody of the children. Last year, Neal filed for custody of the 10-year-old boy and his 9-year-old sister, saying she was concerned about the children's well-being because of the father's affiliation with the neo-Nazi group. Hall opposed the motion, saying Neal had had no contact with the children for six years.