Jeff Hall holds a Neo Nazi flag while standing at Sycamore Highlands Park near his home in Riverside, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 22, 2010.
A Riverside judge has set an October trial date for 11-year-old boy Joseph Hall, accused of killing his white supremacist father last year. Joseph Hall is still undergoing extensive mental health evaluations, but the judge ruled this week that he is fit to stand trial.
Prosecutors say the boy deliberately gunned down his father Jeff Hall at the family’s home in Riverside. Hall was a rising figure in the National Socialist Movement, an international neo-Nazi group.
Court documents reveal a troubled child, prone to violent outbursts and bullied at home and at school. He joined his parents at neo-Nazi gatherings and was the frequent target of his father’s drug-fueled tirades.
But Riverside prosecutor Mike Soccio says the boy’s exposure to neo-Nazi culture will not be a major factor at trial.
"Obviously anyone raised in a household like that and hearing those views would be affected," Soccio said. "But our position is that Joseph killed irrespective of his political or social outlook.”
The boy told police he killed his father to stop a cycle of physical abuse. His public defender has argued the boy is mentally unfit to stand trial.
The court disagreed and set an Oct. 22 trial date. Since it’s a juvenile case, a judge — not a jury — will decide the verdict. Prosecutor Mike Soccio:
"The main focus of the juvenile court is not only the protection of society but also for the welfare of the accused to see what if any ways the system can help," Soccio said. "It’s felt the judge can make that decision better.”
The trial is expected to last three weeks. If convicted, Joseph Hall could remain in custody until he turns 25.