Sentencing postponed for boy who killed neo-Nazi father
A Riverside County judge on Friday postponed until March 1 the sentencing of a 12-year-old boy found guilty of murder in the death of his neo-Nazi father, who was shot in the head as he slept on his living room couch.
Superior Court Judge Jean P. Leonard said she needed more information from the probation department about his mental health and to have an education assessment completed.
At sentencing, Leonard could send the boy to a juvenile detention facility run by the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation or to a less restrictive institution, such as a facility in Indio run by the Riverside County Department of Probation.
The judge in January found that the Riverside boy, who was 10 years old when he pulled the trigger, possessed the mental capacity to know that killing his father was wrong. He was found guilty of second-degree murder and of using a gun while committing a felony.
The youngster's father, Jeffrey Hall, was a West Coast leader for the neo-Nazi organization known as the National Socialist Movement. The judge said Hall's attempts to indoctrinate his son into the hate group corrupted the thought processes of a boy who already was disturbed and displaying violent tendencies.
The boy's attorney said during the trial that Hall, when drunk or high, routinely beat his son. Shortly before he was killed, Hall also threatened to leave the family and to set the house on fire with his children and second wife inside.
The boy probably thought he was protecting his family when he fired that revolver, his attorney said. However, the prosecutor in the case said the boy coldly plotted to kill his father, sharing his plans with his younger sister, and has a history of violent outbursts since he was a toddler.
In the early morning hours of May 1, 2011, the youngster crept downstairs with the loaded revolver, pulled the hammer back and shot his father point-blank in his head as the man slept on the family's couch.
The first signs of the boy's penchant for violence surfaced at an early age. When he was a toddler, his grandmother refused to baby-sit him because of his outbursts, and he later was expelled from eight schools for violent behavior, including an attempt to strangle a teacher with a phone cord, according to evidence presented at the trial.
-- Phil Willon in Riverside
Photo: Jeff Hall holds a neo-Nazi flag while standing at Sycamore Highlands Park near his home in Riverside in 2010. Hall's 12 year-old son was found guilty of murder in his death. Credit: Sandy Huffaker / Associated Press