RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A Southern California woman pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a child endangerment charge in the case of her 10-year-old stepson, who is accused of fatally shooting his white supremacist father.
Krista McCary also pleaded not guilty to four counts of criminal storage of a gun, said John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County district attorney's office.
McCary was charged after her neo-Nazi husband Jeff Hall was shot to death in their home on May 1. Authorities say the eldest of Hall's five children took his parents' gun off a shelf and shot him in the ear while he was sleeping.
Public defender Judith Gweon did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Hall was a regional leader of the National Socialist Movement who was widely known in Riverside for organizing neo-Nazi protests and a failed bid last year for a seat on the local water board. His candidacy frightened many residents in the suburban region, which experts say has seen a rise in hate groups.
According to a police declaration filed in the case, McCary told investigators that Hall hit, kicked and yelled at his son to punish him, had been violent against her and pushed and spanked the boy's younger sisters.
Investigators reported that three of the five children living in the home knew where the couple kept their gun. The boy's four younger siblings were placed in protective custody after the shooting.
The boy was due to appear in juvenile court July 22. The Associated Press is not identifying the boy, who is not being charged as an adult.
Court records show Hall and his ex-wife Leticia Neal had a contentious divorce, fighting over the custody of their two children for nearly a decade. The two adults accused the other of child abuse.
Hall won custody of the children in 2004. Neal filed for joint custody last year, saying Hall's neo-Nazi ties made her "scared of what will happen to my kids."
Hall opposed the request, arguing the children had not received a call from their mother in six years.