The 12-year-old boy accused of murdering his neo-Nazi father was heard on video Tuesday admitting to firing the fatal shot, then adding, “I kind of feel bad now” and “I kind of miss him.”
Joseph Hall's comments — made to police in a videotaped interview hours after the fatal shooting — were aired by prosecutors in a Riverside court room Wednesday in the boy's trial on charges he murdered Jeff Hall, a regional leader in the National Socialist Movement.
On the video, the boy said that on the morning of the shooting, he lay in bed thinking about the conflict in his house. “That’s when I decided to end it,” he said. Prosecutors say he took a loaded .357 revolver from his parents’ bedroom and crept downstairs, where his father lay passed out after a party.
“I stood less than 1 foot away and pointed it at his ear,” he tells the detective in the video. The boy says the gun was heavy, hard to keep steady. He says he needed two fingers from each hand to pull the trigger. He fired a single shot.
Hall was 10 years old when a Riverside police detective interviewed him on camera. The child sits on a blue couch and clutches at a rainbow-colored blanket with his stepmother close by.
He says he was tired of his father’s hitting, kicking and punching. Tired of watching Jeff Hall beat his younger siblings, and worried that his parents would split up. The elder Hall was a burly 6-foot skinhead who led the West Coast chapter of the neo-Nazi movement.
The son claims that Hall also threatened to burn the house down with all the kids inside. In the video, the child tells the detective that when people say things like that, “I get a little mad.”
The day before, on Tuesday, the court had heard from police officers and the boy’s stepmother.
The trial is expected to last about 2 weeks. If convicted, Joseph Hall could remain in juvenile detention until he’s 23 years old.