Boy on Trial in Murder of Neo-Nazi Dad

Joseph Hall Was Just 10 When Father Was Shot

By Reuters

Published October 30, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Multi Page

A boy accused of murdering his neo-Nazi father when he was 10 years old went on trial in California on Tuesday, with prosecutors portraying the child as violent and troubled and a defense lawyer saying he acted to protect his family.

Both sides agree that Joseph Hall, now 12, shot his father, Jeffrey Hall, at near point-blank range on May 1, 2011. He is being tried in juvenile court and could be sent to a juvenile facility until age 23.

The closely watched case in Riverside County, east of Los Angeles, has drawn attention for Jeffrey Hall’s neo-Nazi associations and for the unusual circumstance of such a young child accused of murdering a parent.

Because Joseph Hall is a juvenile, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Jean Leonard, who is conducting the two-week trial, will not decide guilt or innocence, but make a finding of whether the allegations are true - a decision that hinges on the boy’s understanding of right and wrong at the time.

“Joseph has had trouble all of his life. He’s attacked teachers, tried to stab them and strangle them with cords. Every institution expelled him,” Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Michael Soccio told the court in opening remarks.

“Jeffrey Hall was given full custody of Joseph and his sister. He tried to help him. His son had these issues long before he was a Nazi and (was) just a plumber. (Joseph) has ADD (attention deficit disorder), impulsivity and a violent streak,” Soccio said.

The prosecutor, who displayed grisly photographs of the slain man showing a bullet wound above his left ear, said Joseph Hall knew that the gun was dangerous and had planned the crime, telling his sister about his intentions the day before.

“He understood that if he shot someone in the head, they’d be gone,” Soccio said. “He knew what he did was wrong. He knew full well what that meant.”

But Riverside County Deputy Public Defender Matt Hardy, in his opening statement, focused on the boy’s upbringing by a father with ties to the National Socialist Movement that had “conditioned him with racism and violence.”

The defense attorney said Jeffrey Hall, 32, took his son to neo-Nazi rallies. Child protective services had been called to the home 20 times, Hall added.

“Joseph, for his own reasons, decided to kill his father, to protect himself and his family, to stop the violence and be a hero,” he said.

Hardy said that on the night before the shooting, Jeffrey Hall had gone to a National Socialist Movement party and left the gathering with a woman, returning home at 3:30 a.m.

On the night before the killing, Hardy said, Jeffrey Hall sent a text message to his wife, Joseph Hall’s stepmother, reading: “Bitch, get out of the house, I’m divorcing you.”

Joseph Hall attended the proceedings but showed little reaction to the statements or to the grim photographs of his dead father.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.