Huffpost Crime

Why Did 10-Year-Old Boy Murder Jeff Hall, His Neo-Nazi Dad?

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When neo-Nazi leader Jeff Hall was shot and killed by his 10-year-old son, attention immediately turned to the California father's extremist views.

A "60 Minutes" report now shows the motives of the murder may have been more complicated -- and yet more commonplace.

Early on the morning of May 1, hours after the family hosted a neo-Nazi gathering in their Riverside, Calif., home, Joseph Hall retrieved a handgun from his father's closet and shot his dad in the head, investigators allege.

At the time of his death, Hall, an unemployed plumber, had turned himself into a rising star in the National Socialist Movement, according to the CBS News program.

However, it was his parenting more than his controversial politics that played a role in his death, authorities believe.

Joseph Hall told investigators he pulled the trigger to end the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father.

Megan Hall, the Neo-Nazi leader's sister, said her brother wasn't always violent, but in recent years had beaten both Joseph and his wife "on random occasions."

Joseph Hall told investigators that his father hit him, kicked him and pushed him. He allegedly admitted firing the shot to "end the son vs. father thing," a law enforcement source told the news magazine.

According to the boy's grandmother, Joann Patterson, the child always had behavioral problems.

Joseph Hall had reportedly been kicked out of schools for violent behavior and once tried to strangle a teacher with a phone cord.

The boy's struggles were so apparent that Patterson claims the killing didn't even surprise her.

"I wasn't surprised by it, I just somehow felt it could always happen -- but I thought it would be when he was older," said Patterson.

Joseph Hall's arraignment had been scheduled for Sept. 12, but it was delayed until next month to give more time to specialists studying the child's mental state, according to Southern California Public Radio.

Reports indicate that the public defender representing Joseph Hall, who is now 11, may pursue an insanity defense.

If convicted, Joseph Hall will be released from custody by the time he is 25 years old, at the oldest.

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