RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A boy who was only 10 when he fatally shot his white supremacist father was convicted Monday of second-degree murder by a judge who said the child knew what he did was wrong.
Riverside Superior Court Judge Jean Leonard weighed the severity of the crime versus whether the amount of abuse and neglect suffered by the boy, now 12, played a significant role in the slaying of 32-year-old Jeff Hall, a regional leader of the National Socialist Movement.
A sentencing hearing was set for Feb. 15. The boy could be jailed until he is 23.
Leonard noted the boy lay in bed, waited for the right moment, and shot his dad at close range with the ‘‘bad gun’’ — a .357 Magnum — while he slept on a sofa in the family home.
The boy’s stepmother told authorities that Hall had hit, kicked, and yelled at his son for being too loud or getting in the way. Hall and the boy’s biological mother had previously gone through a divorce and custody dispute in which each had accused the other of child abuse. She initially told authorities she had killed Hall but then quickly retracted her statement. She was not charged in the case.
Defense attorney Matthew Hardy said that, because of the abuse, his client learned it was acceptable to kill people who were a threat.
The boy thought if he shot his dad, the violence would end, Hardy said.