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A judge has ruled that a Riverside County boy found guilty of killing his neo-Nazi father should be placed in a state-run juvenile justice facility for seven years.
In her decision, Judge Jean P. Leonard agreed with prosecutors that the boy, 13, had a history of violence and posed a threat to public safety.
The boy's first parole hearing is scheduled to take place when he is 20, but he could get out earlier with good behavior, Leonard said.
Lawyers for the boy had argued that he has social and emotional disabilities, as well as difficulties with speech and vision. If he is rehabilitated by the time he becomes an adult, he will need services that the lawyers say the state facility cannot offer him.
They had advocated sending him to a private, residential treatment facility that could meet those needs while also restricting his access to the outside world. It became apparent during the hearing, however, that such a place might be difficult to find.
Leonard found in January that the boy - who was 10 when he shot his father, Jeffrey Hall, in the head as he slept on a couch in the family's living room - possessed the mental capacity to know that killing his father was wrong. He was found guilty of second-degree murder and using a gun while committing a felony.
The boy, who was charged as a juvenile, can be held in state custody until he is 23. The Los Angeles Times is withholding his identity because of his age.
During his closing arguments, Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Soccio said the boy has demonstrated a propensity for violence beyond killing his father, calling it a "hallmark of his early life." Soccio recounted instances of aggression, including attacking teachers. He said those inclinations had continued during the two years he has been incarcerated.
The boy's lawyers agreed that it's crucial that the boy be placed in a secure, highly structured environment. But they contended that he needed more than what the state facilities could offer him.
The boy "has considerable, pervasive and complicated disabilities" that are partly the result of a decade of abuse at the hands of his father, attorney Punam Grewal said.
Hall was a West Coast leader of a neo-Nazi organization known as the National Socialist Movement. During the trial, an attorney for the boy said Hall had routinely beaten him. Shortly before Hall was killed, he had threatened to leave the family and to set the house on fire with his children and wife inside.
The boy, his attorneys argued, probably believed he was acting to protect his family when, on the morning of May 1, 2011, he shot his father point-blank in the head.