RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The little sister of a boy charged with murdering their neo-Nazi father tearfully testified Wednesday that her brother plotted the shooting days in advance.
The boy was 10 when he was accused of shooting Jeff Hall with a .357 Magnum at point-blank range while he slept on a sofa in their home. The prosecution claims the boy, now 12, killed his dad to keep him from splitting up with his stepmom, while the defense says the stepmother manipulated the boy to shoot Hall because she was angry he might leave her for another woman.
At the time of the shooting, the girl was asleep, but she said her brother told her of his plans four days earlier.
"Did you know ahead of time that someone planned to shoot your father?" Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Soccio asked her.
"Yes," she said quietly.
The girl, now 11, also testified that she lied to authorities that stepmother Krista McCary told the boy to shoot Hall, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported.
McCary initially told police she killed Hall, but testified Tuesday that she was lying to protect the boy. She has pleaded guilty to one felony count of child endangerment and criminal storage of a firearm.
If a judge finds the boy murdered his father, he could be jailed until he is 23. The Associated Press is not identifying the boy because he is a juvenile.
Soccio said the white supremacist beliefs of Hall, an unemployed plumber who was a regional leader of the National Socialist Movement, had nothing to do with the crime and that the boy's history of violence dated to his first day of kindergarten when he stabbed a teacher with a pencil.
The defense claims the boy was influenced by being raised in an abusive, violent, racist environment where he was taught to shoot, attended Nazi rallies and was taken to the border once on a mission to learn how to keep Mexicans out of the U.S.
After the sister testified on the second day of testimony, the prosecution played a videotape of the boy's rambling confession to police.
When Riverside Detective Roberta Hopewell asked for an example of something that might be wrong, he replied, "I shot my dad."
In court, the boy clanked his ankle chains and rested his head on the table as the video was shown. The judge stopped the video at one point because the boy was falling asleep.