RIVERSIDE, Calif., Oct. 29 (UPI) -- A 10-year-old California boy who shot his father to death was motivated by a punishment he received, not because his father was a neo-Nazi, a prosecutor said.
The trial for Joseph Hall, now 12, is scheduled to begin Monday. Prosecutor Michael Soccio said he plans to ask for as much jail time as possible for the boy, The New York Times reported Sunday.
"I've had some people say, 'How can you do that to a little kid?'" Soccio said. "And I ask them, 'Well, would you like him to come live with you?'"
Both the prosecution and defense agree Hall killed his father, Jeff Hall, with a snub-nosed revolver as the man lay sleeping on a couch at the family's home in Riverside, May 1, 2011.
Soccio said the boy was motivated by a punishment he received the day before when the father hosted a meeting of fellow neo-Nazis.
Joesph Hall's public defender, Matthew J. Hardy, said the boy has neurological and psychological problems stemming from being raised by a virulent racist father.
"He's been conditioned to violence," Hardy said. "You have to ask yourself: Did this kid really know that this act was wrong based on all those things?"
"He thought what he was doing was right," Hardy added. "And while that may be hard for other people to understand, in his mind, in a child's mind, if he thought it was right, or at least didn't think it was wrong, then he cannot be held responsible."
If convicted, Joseph Hall would be the youngest person held in one of the fenced-in facilities run by the California Department of Juvenile Justice. He could remain in the facility until he is 23 if found responsible for the killing, the Times reported.