RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A California judge ruled Thursday that a 13-year-old boy who was 10 when he killed his neo-Nazi father will spend at least the next seven years in a state juvenile facility.
Judge Jean R. Leonard said the maximum the boy can serve would be until he is 23. He'll be eligible for parole in seven years
The decision came after prosecutors and defense attorneys argued for months about the best placement to assure his safety and rehabilitation.
His attorneys say the boy was severely abused and has serious emotional and learning disabilities from a brutal and twisted childhood.
The Riverside County boy shot Jeffrey Hall, 32, at point-blank range as he slept on a sofa on their home on May 1, 2011, after a night of drinking.
The boy told police he was afraid he would have to choose between living with his father or stepmother if they divorced.
He was convicted of second-degree murder. The Associated Press is not naming the boy because of his age. His father was regional leader of the National Socialist Movement.
On Wednesday, a Riverside County prosecutor argued that the boy should be sent to Juvenile Justice O.H. Close Detention Center in Stockton to protect him and the public, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported (http://bit.ly/1dQnMXX).
He would be the youngest person in the lockup, and prosecutors have acknowledged he probably would be placed with some of the most violent offenders.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Soccio read a letter from the boy's grandmother that said the family has endured a "walk through hell," the newspaper reported.
"There are three little girls who miss their daddy every day," the letter said. "The only way his death can make sense is if (the boy) gets the help he so desperately needs. He needs both quality and secure placement."
Defense attorneys, however, say the teen has serious emotional disabilities that the state isn't equipped to handle and he should go to a treatment center that could meet his needs for special education and more intensive therapy, with a goal of someday allowing him back into the world.
They have recommended at least three alternative facilities in San Diego, Texas and Utah, but none has been designated as a secure facility, the Press-Enterprise reported.
The boy has a history of violent outbursts that repeatedly got him expelled from school, including trying to strangle a teacher with a phone cord.
During the two years he has spent in Riverside Juvenile Hall, the boy has attacked women teachers and started fights with other students, Soccio said.