RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A 10-year-old boy told police that he figured that if he killed his neo Nazi father, he might not get in trouble because that's what happened on a television program he had watched.
"A bad father did something to his kids and the kid did the exact same thing I did — he shot him," the boy said in a videotaped interview with detectives, as reported by the Riverside Press-Enterprise. "He told the truth and wasn't arrested and the cops believed him. He wasn't in trouble or anything. I thought maybe the exact same thing would happen to me," he said of the episode of "Criminal Minds."
Prosecutors played the video in court on Wednesday, the second day of the boy's murder trial. He is accused of shooting Jeff Hall with a .357 Magnum at point-blank range while he slept on a sofa in their home.
If a judge finds the boy murdered his father, he could be jailed until he is 23. The Associated Press is not identifying the boy because he is a juvenile.
The prosecution claims the boy, now 12, killed his dad to keep him from splitting up with his stepmom, while the defense says the stepmother manipulated the boy to shoot Hall because she was angry he might leave her for another woman.
The boy says in the video that he wanted to end his father's abuse and to ensure he would live with his stepmother because he thought the couple was going to divorce. He said he was scared and angry about his father's temper and threats.
"I thought it would be a good idea to end it — to shoot my dad in the head," he said in the video. "I shot him because I was upset. He was always taking off. He also hit me."
At one point in the video, the boy says he thought his dad would recover. "I was choosing who should leave and I chose my dad," the boy said. "I thought he would get out of the hospital and maybe we could go back to being friends and start over."
As the video was shown, the boy clanked his ankle chains and rested his head on the table. The judge stopped the video at one point because the boy was falling asleep
The little sister of the boy tearfully testified earlier in the day that her brother had plotted the shooting days in advance.
At the time of the shooting, the girl was asleep, but she said her brother told her of his plans four days earlier.
"Did you know ahead of time that someone planned to shoot your father?" Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Soccio asked her.
"Yes," she said quietly.
The girl, now 11, also testified that she lied to authorities that stepmother Krista McCary told the boy to shoot Hall.
McCary initially told police she killed Hall but testified Tuesday that she was lying to protect the boy. She has pleaded guilty to one felony count of child endangerment and criminal storage of a firearm.
Soccio said the white supremacist beliefs of Hall, an unemployed plumber who was a regional leader of the National Socialist Movement, had nothing to do with the crime and that the boy's history of violence dated to his first day of kindergarten when he stabbed a teacher with a pencil.
The defense claims the boy was influenced by being raised in an abusive, violent, racist environment where he was taught to shoot, attended Nazi rallies and was taken to the border once on a mission to learn how to keep Mexicans out of the U.S.