Jeff Hall, a known neo-nazi, was murdered by his son, who he reportedly abused. PHOTO: AP
Judge Jean Leonard of Riverside, CA, ruled that a boy, whose name remains anonymous due to his age, was responsible for the second degree murder of his father, who was abusive and a neo-nazi. The complicating factor: the boy was only ten when he murdered his father, Jeff Hall. Prosecutors argued that the boy knew what he was doing when he shot his father, a regional leader of the National Socialist Movement, and that the slaying was premeditated, a statement backed up by the boy's sister, who said that the boy had been planning the murder for serveral days.
The defense countered that the boy grew up in an abusive environment where violence was a solution to troublesome people. The boy said he thought it would be okay to kill his father because he saw an episode of the show "Criminal Minds" in which a boy killed an abusive parent and was not charged.
This is a case where perhaps the law asks the wrong questions. Yes, it's important to know if the boy knew what he was doing (it very much seems he did), but given the world he lived in, and the beliefs he had, not to mention that he was still young enough to need a parent or guardian to see a PG-13 movie, perhaps the court should be more concerned with changing his life going forward than punishing him for what he did. Murder is murder no matter what, but that doesn't mean that all murders should be treated the same, and the murder of Jeff Hall is a perfect example of why.