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Boy who killed neo-Nazi father: Where he should serve time debated

October 26, 2013|Rick Rojas
  • Neo-Nazi leader Jeffrey Hall, shown in 2010, repeatedly beat his son, according to the defense attorney for the boy, who was 10 when he shot Hall in the head as he slept.
Neo-Nazi leader Jeffrey Hall, shown in 2010, repeatedly beat his son, according… (Sandy Huffaker / Associated…)

Prosecutors want a 13-year-old boy found guilty of killing his neo-Nazi father to serve his sentence in a state-run juvenile facility.

But attorneys for the boy say those places aren't equipped to handle their client's severe emotional and social disabilities. They're proposing other options, including private facilities. 

A hearing began Friday to determine where he should spend the next decade of his life.

A Riverside County judge found in January that the boy — who was 10 when he shot his father, Jeffrey Hall, in the head as he slept on a couch in the family's living room — possessed the mental capacity to know killing his father was wrong.

He was found guilty of second-degree murder and of using a gun while committing a felony. 

The boy, who was charged as a juvenile, can be held in state custody until he is 23. The Times is withholding his identity because of his age.

"Somebody needs to make sure he can't murder other people," Riverside County Deputy Dist. Atty. Michael Soccio told the Los Angeles Times. The placement options advocated by the boy's attorneys were "not sufficient to deal with that level of violence," Soccio said.

Soccio said killing his father was not an isolated outburst, but the boy had instead demonstrated having "violent propensities." He had changed schools nine times before the killing, Soccio said.

In one instance, he attempted to strangle a teacher with a phone cord. When he was a toddler, his grandmother refused to babysit him because of how difficult he was to control.

But, Soccio said, the boy had developed since his incarceration. 

"I think it's important he stays on the course he's on," he said. "He's improved tremendously."

The boy's lawyer, Punam Grewal, did not dispute his history of violence and that he needed to be kept in a secure environment. The boy, she told The Times, "cannot be released into the community."

But she said a Division of Juvenile Justice facility was not the appropriate place. She said he has had conflicts with other youths during his incarceration and has also been fearful for his safety.

The boy "has considerable, pervasive and complicated disabilities," she said — the byproduct, she noted, of a decade of abuse at the hands of his father.

His father, Hall, was a West Coast leader for the neo-Nazi organization known as the National Socialist Movement. During the trial, an attorney for the boy said Hall would routinely beat his son.

Shortly before he was killed, Hall threatened to leave the family and to set the house on fire with his children and wife inside.

The boy, his attorneys argued, probably believed he was acting to protect his family when, on the morning of May 1, 2011, he shot his father point blank in the head.

Testimony resumes Tuesday.


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