When A 10-Year-Old Kills His Nazi Father, Who's To Blame?
Two flags dangle from a banister into the middle of a living room in a modest two-story suburban home in Riverside — one of the far-flung exurbs of Southern California, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.
Nailed next to an air-conditioning vent, the California state flag hangs next to a banner with a thick black swastika transposed over the traditional stars and stripes. Emblazoned on it are the initials "NSM," the acronym for the National Socialist Movement. Nazis. A group known in the area for protesting Latino day-laborer sites with megaphones and hanging Nazi flags outside of a local synagogue.
Jeffrey Hall, 32, is asleep on a sofa underneath the flags. His second wife, 26-year-old Krista McCary, with whom he had been arguing, is asleep in the master bedroom upstairs. All five of their young children are asleep — except for one. At 4 a.m. that morning of May 1, 2011, 10-year-old Joseph, the eldest, silently paces down the carpeted staircase with a fully loaded Rossi .357 magnum revolver in his small hands. Joseph walks barefoot across the cream-colored floor tiles, still sticky with boot prints from yesterday's meetup of regional NSM members. He sidesteps the empty Budweiser bottles scattered around the sofa and stands two feet away from his sleeping father. Joseph pulls the revolver's hammer back, aims below his father's ear, and fires. The Southwestern Regional Director of the National Socialist Movement's brains are blown out by his 4-foot son.
The wall-shaking boom from the magnum load jars Krista awake, but she is slow getting to her feet. When she reaches the living room, she sees her husband motionless on the sofa, blood streaming from a dark hole on the side of his shaved head. Joseph reemerges from his bedroom to where he had retreated with the gun, walks halfway down the stairs, and stops.
"I shot Dad," Joseph says flatly.
"Why?" she asks.