Joseph Hall, a boy from Riverside, Calif. who shot and killed his abusive neo-Nazi father at the age of 10, was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in a state juvenile detention center.
Joseph, now 13, reportedly endured years of abuse before shooting his 32-year-old father, Jeffrey Hall, on May 1, 2011. After learning that his father and his stepmother were planning to divorce, Joseph killed Jeffrey at point-blank range behind his ear. Jeffrey was asleep on the couch after a drinking binge.
Jeffrey, an out-of-work plumber, was a regional leader of the National Socialist Movement, a white-supremacist party. He spearheaded anti-Semitic rallies at Jewish synagogues and other venues.
Although Joseph’s lawyers argued that the boy needs psychological treatment and should be sent to a mental hospital, Judge Jean R. Leonard ruled that the boy was a danger to society and needed to be behind bars. Joseph will be eligible for parole in 7 years, at the age of 20. With good behavior, he may be paroled in as little as 5 years.
Joseph had a history of violence, and prosecutors noted that he had previously stabbed a teacher, clubbed his uncle and stabbed his sister. His sister reported that Joseph had told her of his murder plan the day before the shooting.
Since the killing, Joseph has remained in youth detention facilities. Said Riverside County Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Soccio, “I have grown attached to him in an odd way. I enjoy watching him grow and change but I am convinced he has done better in a quasi-military penal environment. He seems to like it, he knows what the rules are and what is expected and he is treated with dignity.”
Defense attorney Punam Patel Grewal disagreed that the boy should be in a state facility, claiming that a residential treatment center would be more effective for rehabilitation.
“It is a very dangerous place for him. He's got a lot of vulnerability here,” she said. 'When he comes out at 23, we've got a huge problem.”