RIVERSIDE, Calif. | A 10-year-old boy was charged Wednesday with killing his neo-Nazi father in the family's Southern California home in what prosecutors say is an extremely unusual case because of the child's age.
Riverside County prosecutors decided to charge the boy with murder involving the use of a gun after reviewing the facts surrounding the early Sunday morning shooting of Jeff Hall, a 32-year-old plumber who had carried a swastika flag and led rallies outside a local synagogue and day-labor site.
Prosecutors declined to provide additional details until the boy enters a plea.
"To say it's unheard of is not hyperbole in this case," said Ambrosio E. Rodriguez, senior deputy district attorney. "This is extremely rare. It is almost unheard of — until today."
The small, blonde-haired boy appeared in juvenile court in Riverside on Wednesday in handcuffs, but his detention hearing was delayed to May 18 in what public defender Matt Hardy said would be a "long haul" of a case.
The child did not enter a plea and remains in juvenile hall. After the hearing, he requested a visit with his stepmother and grandmother.
The boy, whose name is not being released by the Associated Press because he is a minor, is accused of shooting his father with a handgun in the family home in Riverside. Hall was found on the couch and paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene, said Riverside police Lt. Ed Blevins.
Authorities believe the shooting was intentional but declined to comment on a motive — except to say they do not believe the father's neo-Nazi affiliation played a role.
There were no reports of a disturbance or argument before the shooting was reported to police, Lt. Blevins said.
"There are some very, very difficult issues in this case," Mr. Hardy told Judge Charles J. Koosed.
Relatives of the boy who attended the hearing declined comment. His mother, Leticia Neal, said she is looking into hiring a private attorney but only learned of the shooting on Monday.
Mr. Hall's four other children have been placed in protective custody.
Mr. Hall was southwest regional leader of the National Socialist Movement, an organization that advocates white supremacy. He led rallies against illegal immigration and outside a local synagogue, provoking an outcry from a host of community groups and residents concerned about the rise in hate groups in the vast suburbs southeast of Los Angeles.
Hall, who advocated for a breakaway white nation, also lost a bid last year for a seat on the Western Municipal Water District board in Riverside.
The Anti-Defamation League considers Hall's organization to be the country's largest neo-Nazi group.