A California boy accused of killing his neo-Nazi father may take the stand in his own defense after prosecutors wrapped up their portion of the case on Monday.
Joseph Hall, now 12, was 10 in 2011 when he shot and killed his neo-Nazi father, Jeffrey Hall, 32, with his father’s gun at point-blank range.
The boy’s attorney, Matthew Hardy, said he would consult with him to determine whether the youth will testify at the trial. If not, closing arguments in the case in Riverside County Superior Court are expected to start on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
The case has gained national attention because of the boy’s young age at the time of the killing and his father's neo-Nazi affiliation.
Because of his age, Joseph Hall can't be sent to prison if he is found responsible for the murder. He also can’t be found either innocent or guilty, but either responsible or not responsible for the crime. If the judge determines the boy was responsible, he would be sent to a juvenile facility until he reaches his 23rd birthday, Reuters reported.
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"Obviously in a case like this when we're talking about whether or not a 10-year-old boy can formulate the intent to commit first-degree murder, there's issues of whether or not he can comprehend what he's doing," Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Ambrosio Rodriguez told KABC earlier in the trial, which was delayed for two months.
Hardy contended that Joseph Hall killed his father after enduring years of abuse, which may have included molestation.
The boy reportedly believed he could not be punished for killing his neo-Nazi father because he saw an episode of “Criminal Minds,” where a boy killed his abusive father and wasn’t arrested for the slaying, the Los Angeles Times reported.
During their portion of the case, prosecutors contended that Joseph Hall knew that killing his neo-Nazi father was wrong. They claimed Jeffrey Hall’s background as a white supremacist was not a motive in his death, and argued that his son was violent before his dad became a member of the National Socialist Movement, the newspaper reported.
Child psychologist Anna Salter, the final prosecution witness, testified that Joseph Hall knew that his actions were wrong. She also said he wasn’t a psychopath, Reuters reported.
"He did know he was wrong (to shoot his father), he said it in many ways, including that night," Salter testified.
She said that the boy was upset about his father potentially breaking up his family, and that was most likely his motivation for killing his father.
"I feel the fear of abandonment was a very important trigger. This was the first stable home he had, it would be a huge loss for him," Salter said.