RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A 10-year-old boy charged with murdering his white-supremacist father told investigators that he shot the man after growing tired of him hitting him and his stepmother, court documents showed yesterday.
In the hours after the shooting, the boy told investigators that he thought Jeff Hall, 32, was cheating on his stepmother and that he might have to choose whom to live with, according to a police declaration filed in Riverside County.
The blond-haired boy told investigators that he went into his parents' closet, pulled a revolver off a low shelf, went downstairs, and aimed the gun at his father's ear while he was asleep and shot him. He later hid the gun under his bed, according to court documents.
"It was right there on the shelf," the boy told investigators, according to the police declaration filed Tuesday in support of an arrest warrant for his stepmother, Krista McCary, 26, on nine felony charges of child endangerment and criminal storage of a gun.
In the hours after the shooting, McCary told investigators that Hall hit, kicked and yelled at his son to punish him for being too loud or getting in his way. She said that he also had been violent against her and pushed and spanked the boy's younger sisters, the declaration said.
McCary also told detectives that Hall had taken his son target shooting when they went on a trip to the border, so he knew how to shoot guns, and "admitted that the revolver was on a low shelf where the kids had access to it," the declaration said.
Investigators said that the house, located on a tidy suburban cul-de-sac 60 miles east of Los Angeles, was filthy, with dirty clothing covering the floors and a stench of urine in the bedrooms. Empty beer bottles were strewn across the downstairs. National Socialist Movement and California flags were hanging in the living room.
In the garage, investigators found a .22-caliber rifle leaning against a wall and an unlocked cabinet about 10 feet away that held ammunition.
Investigators reported that three of the five children living in the home knew where the couple kept their gun.
The boy's four sisters were placed in protective custody after the shooting.
Hall - who said that he was proud to fly the swastika and believed in a white breakaway nation - was widely known in Riverside for organizing neo-Nazi protests and his failed bid last year for a seat on the local water board. His candidacy frightened many residents in the area, which experts say has seen a rise in hate groups.
The day before his death, Hall held a regular meeting of members of the National Socialist Movement at his home.