A judge ruled Monday that a 12-year-old boy from Riverside, Calif. was responsible for murdering his neo-Nazi father when he was just 10 years old.
Judge Jean P. Leonard ruled the boy guilty of second-degree murder and for using a gun while committing a felony, according to LA Times.
The boy killed his father, Jeffery Hall, on May 1, 2011, in the morning before he had woken up for the day. He used Hall's .357 magnum revolver and shot him in the head.
This incident comes after the boy experienced years of abuse, neglect, and influence by his father, who was a West Coast leader for the neo-Nazi organization National Socialist Movement.
Hall had been attempting to "indoctrinate" the boy into the hate group, and the judge said this likely had corrupted the thought process of an already disturbed boy.
"It is clear that this minor knows more than the average child about guns, hate and violence," Leonard said. "This is not a naive little boy unaware of the ways of the world."
Hall's son may be held in juvenile detention until he is 23.
Usually, juveniles responsible for second-degree murder are sent to one of three juvenile detention facilities run by the state. These house the most violent juvenile offenders, and currently, none are under the age of 14.
The boy's attorney, Matthew Hardy, said sending him to one of these facilities would be a "tragedy."
"That's a place that's not a place for children," Hardy said. "He'll be spending his time learning how to be a gangbanger and killer."
Leonard indicated that she would consider alternative placements for him, like a secure facility run by the Riverside County Department of Probation in Indio.
Hardy is planning to appeal the ruling, arguing that the boy did not know it was wrong to shoot his father.
After the shooting, Hardy said the boy gave conflicting statements to police, even saying that the boy expected his father to recover and rejoin the family soon.
Hardy also said the boy stated he was trying to defend his family from his father, who was abusive and threatened to burn down the family's home with his wife and kids inside.
"He didn't think it was wrong; he thought it was justified," Hardy said. "He thought he had to do it."
Chief Deputy Dist. Atty. Michael Soccio said the boy likely wanted to kill his father because he feared he was going to divorce the boy's stepmother and break the family apart.
Soccio said the boy is still a threat to society. Before the shooting, he was expelled from eight schools for violent incidents, one being an attempt to strangle a teacher.
"I think he is a very dangerous boy," he said.