May 19, 2011 in Nation/World

Boy who killed father recounts frequent abuse

Document: 5 children had easy gun access
Phil Willon Los Angeles Times
 

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – A chilling family portrait emerged Wednesday in the case of a 10-year-old Riverside boy charged with murdering his neo-Nazi father, including outings to practice target shooting, a house with guns and knives stashed in easily accessible places and, the boy told police, regular beatings by his father. And he knew exactly where to find the family’s .357 revolver.

The boy gave a harrowing account of how he carried out the early morning attack May 1 while his father, 32-year-old Jeffrey R. Hall, was dozing on the living room couch, detectives stated in a court declaration filed in connection with charges against the boy’s stepmother, Krista F. McCary.

The 10-year-old told police he grabbed a Rossi .357 revolver from a closet and “went downstairs with the gun, pulled the hammer back, aimed the gun at his dad’s ear while he was asleep and shot him,” Riverside Police Detective Greg Rowe wrote in the declaration. The boy then “went upstairs and hid the gun under his bed.”

The court document, based on police station interviews of Hall’s wife and four of the family’s five children, offered the first glimpse of a household terrorized by Hall’s alleged out-of-control violence and rants. The boy was a target of that abuse “on a daily basis,” McCary, 26, told police, adding that her husband “kicks, hits and yells” at him more than the other four children.

“He was tired of his dad hitting him and his mom. … He thought his dad was cheating on his mom and thought he might have to choose which person he would live with,” Rowe said in the court declaration. “He knew his mom and dad had a gun and he knew where they kept it.”

These details came out on the same day that the boy appeared in juvenile court for a detention hearing. Judge Charles J. Koosed approved a request by the boy’s attorney, Public Defender Mathew Hardy, for a mental health evaluation. Hardy said he may pursue a defense of not guilty by reason of insanity.

McCary, meanwhile, has been charged with five felony counts of child endangerment and four counts of criminal storage of a firearm. The four other children, ranging in age from 9 years to two months, have been placed with a relative.

Police found an unloaded .22-caliber rifle in the garage of Hall’s home, 10 feet away from an unlocked and stocked ammunition cabinet. They also found several “edged weapons” in the master bedroom.

The prosecutor in the case, Deputy District Attorney Ambrosio Rodriguez, cautioned that the court declaration was a “very short summary” of the evidence leading to McCary’s arrest.


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