Searchlight Magazine

Trial of boy accused of killing dad to resume Monday

Prosecution testimony will resume Monday in the trial of a 12-year-old boy who is charged with gunning 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. 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 has a different father and was placed in his father’s custody.

Credit: My Desert

© 2013 Searchlight Magazine Ltd, PO Box 1576, Ilford IG5 0NG

Top Desktop version