A 12-year-old boy is standing trial for allegedly killing his abusive, neo-Nazi father in their Riverside home. If convicted, the child could be imprisoned until his 25th birthday.
Then what? What is the best one can hope for in this case? What if the boy's not found guilty by reason of insanity?
Here's the brief background on the case according to a Jan. 2 report from City News Service:
Prosecution testimony will resume Monday in the trial of a now 12-year-old boy who gunned down his neo-Nazi father in what defense attorneys argue was the act of a mentally ill child.
Joseph Hall shot 32-year-old Jeff Russell Hall in the head as the man slept on a living room couch on the night of May 1, 2011, according to prosecutors. The youth, who confessed to the shooting, could be imprisoned until his 25th birthday if convicted of first-degree murder.
He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Click on the attached 60 Minutes video report on the killing.
In early November, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Jean Leonard called a halt to the nonjury bench trial after nearly a week of testimony because of concerns about an expert witness called by the prosecution.
Dr. Craig Rath, a 30-year mental health practitioner based in San Bernardino, was asked to render an opinion regarding the ability of Joseph to distinguish between reality and fantasy.
The defense objected to the witness's appearance because he had already testified regarding whether Joseph was competent to stand trial. Leonard agreed and suspended proceedings until Jan. 7 to give the District Attorney's Office sufficient time to find another psychologist.
That individual, as yet unnamed, is slated to testify Monday.
According to testimony, Jeff Hall came home drunk on the night he was killed and bedded down on a downstairs sofa because he and his wife, 27-year-old Krista McCary, had been arguing.
Joseph went into a master bedroom closet and retrieved his dad's .357- caliber Rossi revolver, crept into the living room and walked to within a couple of feet of the sleeping man before pulling the trigger, killing him instantly, witnesses testified.
The child told a Riverside police investigator that he was afraid of having to live with the white supremacist if the victim and McCary divorced.
McCary, who was convicted of child endangerment in 2011 and served four months in jail, testified that she had witnessed her late husband slap and kick Joseph on multiple occasions.
Department of Public Social Services investigators looked into complaints that Joseph was being abused physically, even sexually, but did not remove the boy from the household.
Unexplained marks on the boy prompted complaints to DPSS between 2003 and 2010, without any apparent repercussions. There were also concerns the child was mentally disabled and not being properly treated for the disability, according to testimony.
McCary acknowledged that the hyperactive boy had a "learning disability" but was not handicapped.
She and Jeff Hall had four children together. Joseph was the product of a prior marriage but was placed in his father's custody.