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Crime & Courts

Ohio boy admits killing mom in fight over chores

An Ohio boy admitted he fatally shot his mother in the head with a rifle when he was 10 after what a relative described as an argument over chores.

The boy, now 13, entered the equivalent of a guilty plea Monday in juvenile court.

In January 2011, the boy went to a neighbor's house, called 911 and told the dispatcher he had shot his mother at their home in rural Holmes County, about 70 miles northeast of Columbus. "I shot my mom. I shot her with a gun," he said.

At the time, his uncle said the boy and his mother had argued over carrying firewood.

Defense attorney Andy Hyde said the boy lived in an emotionally abusive environment, was provoked by his mother's screaming and "just snapped."

The boy "is one of those that I just feel sorry for," Hyde said. "He had a lot dumped on him at a young age and responded inappropriately, but the spur-of-the-moment decision now will affect the rest of his life."

The boy will be sentenced later and could be held in a youth facility until he's 21. Hyde said Wednesday that the judge can consider a range of placement options, and he'll ask that the boy go to a residential treatment facility with access to counseling.

County Prosecutor Steve Knowling told The Repository in Canton the plea deal avoids a trial that benefits no one.

"It's obviously a very difficult situation because of his age, but it's still a murder case," Knowling told the newspaper. He didn't immediately respond to a message seeking further comment Wednesday.

The boy said he understood his plea agreement during the Monday hearing attended by his father and other relatives, The Repository reported.

The issue of a trial had been on hold because the boy initially was found not competent for that. The court then found him competent earlier this year.

The boy has received counseling for anxiety and depression and can't bring himself to talk about the shooting, Hyde said.

The Associated Press generally doesn't identify juveniles accused of crimes.

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