California Officials Can’t Decide Where To Send 13-Year-Old Killer

Joseph Hall

Thirteen-year-old Joseph Hall was convicted of second-degree murder in January 2013 after he shot his father in the head. Since that time, officials have been unable to determine where Hall should be placed.

Prosecutor Mike Soccio has promised that Joseph hasn’t “fallen through the cracks” but rather that “It’s just that no crack fits Joseph.”

The seventh grader has waited for six months as prosecutors and state officials try to place him inside the California penal system.

City council members, educational advocates, attorneys, psychologists, and various other experts have argued over where a 13-year-old boy should be placed.

The ultimate decision for the young killer’s placement lays at the hands of Judge Jean P. Leonard. The boy could be placed for the next 10 years in a therapeutic facility, or he could be placed in a prison for the mostly violent juvenile offenders in California. Most of the “kids” in the violent facilities are 18 to 19 years old.

If you are unfamiliar with the case, at the age of 10, Joseph snuck up to his father (pictured above) at 4 am, aimed a.357 magnum revolver at his head as he slept, and pulled the trigger. The boy’s father was a regional leader of a neo-Nazi organization.

The boy’s Neo-Nazi father had at least a dozen child abuse claims filed against him, although none of those claims could be substantiated. It was that child abuse that led the boy’s lawyers to claim he was the victim of extreme child abuse at the hands of his murdered father.

The Riverside Department of Probation is hoping that Joseph will become the youngest prisoner in a therapeutic facility, also known as “baby jail.” The Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) is known for its extreme bouts of violence, and advocates for the young man are positive he will leave that facility as a “gangbanger or a series killer.”

The biggest contention at this time is that “baby jail” isn’t cheap. If Joseph Hall is sent to one of those facilities, it will be Riverside County that is stuck paying for his psychiatric bills for the next 10 years.

Joseph will likely skip time at the DJJ because he was identified by Riverside School District as learning disabled when he was a student. The boy was listed as barely literate, hyperactive, unable to understand abstract concepts, and prone to violent outbursts in school. That combination of emotional and educational problems could make him a much better fit as a psychological facility.

Do you think Joseph Hall should be placed in the DJJ to serve hard time, or should his emotional problems be dealt with in a more conducive facility for his needs?