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Trial starts for 12-year-old boy who allegedly killed neo-Nazi father

Neo Nazi Candidates

Sandy Huffaker/AP

Jeff Hall holds a Neo Nazi flag while standing at Sycamore Highlands Park near his home in Riverside, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 22, 2010.

Opening statements in the trial of a 12-year-old boy accused of gunning down his neo-Nazi father are set to begin Tuesday in Riverside. The killing occurred two years ago, when the boy was just 10. He’s been in custody ever since.

Prosecutors say Joseph Hall deliberately shot his father at the family’s Riverside home. His father Jeff Hall was a rising figure in the National Socialist Movement, an international neo-Nazi group.

Joseph was present at neo-Nazi gatherings hosted by his parents and was taught at a young age how to use a firearm, but Riverside County prosecutors say the boy’s exposure to white supremacist culture probably won’t play a big role at trial.

Court documents reveal a child prone to violent outbursts — and bullied at home and at school. He apparently was the frequent target of his father’s drunken rages. The boy told police he killed his father to stop the abuse.

Since it’s a juvenile murder case, a judge rather than a jury will render a verdict. At a court hearing Monday morning, Judge Jean Leonard granted the defense attorney’s request to have Joseph unshackled during trial.

Wearing a light blue polo shirt and navy blue slacks, the boy stood up so a sheriff’s deputy could unlock his handcuffs and leg shackles. The judge said she could make a ruling in the case as early as next week.

If convicted, Joseph Hall could remain in custody until the age of 25, providing he doesn’t commit any crimes while incarcerated.

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