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D.A.: Boy who killed neo-Nazi dad ‘no different’ than other murderers

Jeffrey Hall holds a neo-Nazi flag while standing at Sycamore Highlands Park near his Riverside home in October 2010. Credit: Sandy Huffaker / Associated Press.

The 10-year-old son of a local neo-Nazi leader did not differ from any other killer when he shot his sleeping father on the couch, a prosecutor told a judge Tuesday.

Sitting unshackled — dressed in a purple short-sleeve collared shirt — the now 12-year-old boy listened as Chief Deputy Dist. Atty. Michael Soccio told a Riverside County judge that father Jeffrey Hall's membership in the National Socialist Movement was a "red herring."

The boy "is no different than any other murderer," Soccio said in his opening statement. He "would have shot his father if he was a member of the Peace and Freedom Party."

The boy, whose name is not being released by The Times because he is a juvenile, has been charged with murder. If the allegations against the boy are found to be true by a judge, he could remain in juvenile custody until he is 23.

Soccio said the boy shot his father in May 2011 because he believed Hall was about to leave his stepmother and he would have had to live with his father.

That scared the boy, Soccio said, and he "found a way to stop it."

Soccio told the judge the boy knew what shooting his father "would make them leave" and he knew it was wrong.

But Public Defender Matthew Hardy said the boy pulled the trigger after being manipulated by his stepmother to do so.

"We are not going to suggest she killed him," Hardy told the judge. "She used this young man to kill him."

Hardy said his client believed his action was just because it would end beatings his father allegedly inflicted upon him and it would protect his family.

The boy, Hardy told a judge, thought he would become a "hero."

"He would not have pulled the trigger if he thought it was wrong," Hardy said.

His judgement of right and wrong was clouded by mental health issues and growing up in a neo-Nazi and gun-filled environment, Hardy said.

To prove the allegations true, the judge must rule that the defendant must have known his actions were wrong at the time.

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— Andrew Khouri in Riverside County

Photo: Jeffrey Hall holds a neo-Nazi flag while standing at Sycamore Highlands Park near his Riverside home in October 2010. Credit: Sandy Huffaker / Associated Press.

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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