Earlier this month, Riverside, Calif. police arrested a 10-year-old boy for the murder of his father, neo-Nazi leader and water board candidate Jeff Hall. At the time, police didn't attribute the motive. Now, a court declaration reveals details about the case — including why, and how, the boy killed his father. It doesn't make the story any less tragic, in case that's what you're thinking.
Apparently the fourth-grader — who, like his nine-year-old sister, knew where all of his parents' guns were kept — took a Rossi .357 revolver from a closet early one morning:
[Redacted] told Detective [Roberta] Hopewell that he went downstairs with the gun, pulled the hammer back, aimed the gun at his dad's ear while he was asleep and shot him. [Redacted] said he went upstairs and hid the gun under his bed.
As for why:
[Redacted]... admitted during the interview that he was tired of his dad hitting him and his [step-]mom. [He] said he thought his dad was cheating on his [step=]mom and thought he might have to choose which person he would live with.
The scene on the detective's arrival didn't paint a picture of domestic bliss, either. The Hall house was reportedly "filthy." "The bedrooms smelled like urine," the report explains, and the bedding — including the mattresses — was "stained and soiled." The decoration downstairs: A National Socialist Movement flag and a California Republic flag.
And the guns. The court document is part of a case against the boy's stepmother, Krista McCary, for child endangerment and failure to properly store a firearm; the detective account confirms that not only did Hall and McCary keep several weapons, but that "three out of the four children" knew the (easily-accessible) location of the .357 revolver.
Given the apparent physical abuse, where was Child Protective Services? According to the report, the agency had "numerous contacts" with the Hall-McCary household but "most of the allegations were unfounded" — reported as part of a "bitter child custody dispute" between Hall and his ex-wife. Clearly, CPS will be playing a role going forward. The boy, for his part, will go a court-ordered mental-health evaluation soon.