(CBS/AP) RIVERSIDE, Calif. - The murder trial for a California boy charged with murder will begin Tuesday after he fatally shot his white supremacist father in the head when the boy was 10-years- old.
Opening statements are expected to begin in the two-week trial for Joseph Hall, who is now 12-years-old, in Superior Court in Riverside. He is accused of murdering his 32-year-old father, Jeff Hall, a regional leader of the National Socialist Movement who also who ran for a Riverside city board last November.
The boy told police last year he pulled a .357-Magnum from a closet and aimed it at Hall's ear while he was sleeping on his sofa. He then pulled the trigger before running upstairs and hiding the weapon, according to court papers.
"He decided, as he put it, it was time to end the father-son thing," Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Soccio. "This child started at five years old being expelled from school for violence. ... His violence started way before his dad ever joined any Nazi party."
The boy's public defender, Matthew Hardy, told the New York Times his client has neurological and psychological problems and was exposed to neo-Nazi "conditioning" at home.
"He's been conditioned to violence," Hardy told the newspaper. "You have to ask yourself: Did this kid really know that this act was wrong based on all those things?"
The boy told authorities last year he thought his father was going to leave his stepmother, and he didn't want the family to split up, Soccio said.
The boy's stepmother told authorities that Hall had hit, kicked and yelled at his son for being too loud or getting in the way. Hall and the boy's biological mother had previously slugged through a divorce and custody dispute in which each had accused the other of child abuse.
Authorities haven't released the name of the boy, who is not being charged as an adult, because of his age.
If convicted, the boy could be held in state custody until he is 23-years-old, said Bill Sessa, spokesman for California's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. This could make him the youngest person currently in the custody of California's corrections department.
More on Crimesider