Riverside, CA – The trial of the California boy who is accused of killing his neo-Nazi father began on Tuesday. Prosecuting attorneys portrayed the child as a violent and troubled young man. The defense team believes the boy, who was 10 at the time of the shooting, was attempting to protect his family. The boy allegedly feared living alone with his father, who was reportedly leaving his stepmother, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Both the prosecution and defense agree on one thing, that Joseph Hall killed his father. Hall, now 12, reportedly shot Jeff Hall at near point-blank range, according to Yahoo News. The boy is being tried in a juvenile court and could be sentences to remain behind bars until he turns 23.
The shooting in the Los Angeles suburb garnered national headlines due to both the age of the shooter accused of murdering a parent and the victim’s neo-Nazi connections. Riverside County Superior Court Judge Jean Leonard expects the trial to last two weeks. He will not determine Hall’s guilt or innocence due to his juvenile status. Instead, he will make a finding of whether or not the allegations are true. Such a decision reportedly rests heavily on the child’s understanding of right and wrong at the time of the shooting.
Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Michael Soccio had this to say during his opening remarks at trial:
“Joseph has had trouble all of his life. He’s attacked teachers, tried to stab them and strangle them with cords. Every institution expelled him. Jeffrey Hall was given full custody of Joseph and his sister. He tried to help him. His son had these issues long before he was a Nazi and was just a plumber. Joseph has ADD, impulsivity, and a violent streak.”
The defense noted that Jeffrey Hall, 32, took his son to neo-Nazi rallies. Child protective services had reportedly been called to the residence 20 times. The boy’s attorneys maintain that he chose to kill his dad to protect himself, the family, and to stop the violence inside the home.