A Very Dangerous Boy
November 7, 2013 12:00 PM   Subscribe

A son kills a father and the question is why. In the case of 10-year-old Joseph Hall, the answer seemed simple: The boy had been raised around hate."

Amy Wallace digs into a case of a young boy who killed his Neo-Nazi father: "A Very Dangerous Boy"
posted by lunasol (21 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Previously. This whole story is so sad.
posted by Dr-Baa at 12:07 PM on November 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oops, I missed that this had been covered before ... indeed a really sad story.
posted by lunasol at 12:09 PM on November 7, 2013


No easy answers.
posted by gallois at 12:24 PM on November 7, 2013


Then, last Thursday, after hearing arguments from both the prosecution and the defense, Judge Leonard issued her sentence: 40 years to life. But that sentence—the same as what an adult would receive—is a technicality. Joseph will spend at least the next seven years in a state juvenile facility, where he will be the youngest inmate. When he is 20, he will be eligible for a hearing that could initiate parole proceedings, and—potentially—he will then win his freedom and rejoin society. At most, barring any future legal maneuvering, he'll serve ten more years.

Could someone explain his sentence for me? I thought from the prior thread that Joseph could only be held until he was 23.
posted by Dr-Baa at 1:11 PM on November 7, 2013


Well, there are some easy answers --

If the kid had not been able to get his hands on a gun, this couldn't have happened.

If the gun hadn't been loaded, it couldn't have happened, the same if the kid hadn't known how to fire it.

And the following is just my opinion as an armchair internet layabout: If the kid had a better understanding of what guns do, it might not have happened. When your father talks in terms about armed revolution and shooting people, I can imagine it leads to a sense that death isn't real.
posted by JHarris at 1:23 PM on November 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Could someone explain his sentence for me? I thought from the prior thread that Joseph could only be held until he was 23.

It's a bit convoluted, but I believe what it's saying is that he was convicted of 2nd degree murder, which normally carries a 40 year sentence. Because he's a juvinile, he will be eligible for parole when he is 20. If he does not receive parole, he will be released when he is 23 (10 years from now).
posted by Diablevert at 1:33 PM on November 7, 2013


It doesn't really matter what the sentence is, it was moronic to put this child on trial in the first place. Get him into therapy, give him a loving family and be glad there's one neonazi less on this planet.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:34 PM on November 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


Absolutely. I had a hard time trying to square the reasoning of the father who forbade his son from pointing even toy guns at people while sending said son on armed border patrol.
posted by Dr-Baa at 1:34 PM on November 7, 2013


My comment was intended for JHarris.
posted by Dr-Baa at 1:35 PM on November 7, 2013


Thank you for clearing that up, Diablevert. I was reading it as he was up for parole at 20 but could serve 10 years after that- meaning he'd be released at 30.
posted by Dr-Baa at 1:36 PM on November 7, 2013


I am shocked at how responsibly the prosecutor and the judge conducted themselves here. Maybe because of the antipathy toward the victim, but nevertheless, I wish more prosecution was conducted with an eye toward what's going to be best for the public in the future rather on racking up credit.

He was on the honor roll at juvie, doing algebra, playing sports and reading books about Italy because, his lawyer said, he was interested in the churches there.

I really hope his next decade keeps going well. That is a lot of damage to undo, and I'm not at all confident in the state's commitment to rehabilitation. But the above is super heart-warming.
posted by ignignokt at 1:38 PM on November 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


"It doesn't really matter what the sentence is, it was moronic to put this child on trial in the first place. Get him into therapy, give him a loving family and be glad there's one neonazi less on this planet."

Did you actually read the article? He's doing better now in large part because of the criminal justice system, and the whole thing is about how it's more complicated than just another neo-nazi kid.
posted by klangklangston at 1:44 PM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


But as I scribbled, I was thinking what a terrible hand Joseph had been dealt.
Poor kid. I hope he gets the help he needs.
posted by arcticseal at 2:54 PM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


MartinWisse: It doesn't really matter what the sentence is, it was moronic to put this child on trial in the first place. Get him into therapy, give him a loving family and be glad there's one neonazi less on this planet.

Well, there's one less human being on the planet. Even neo-Nazis can reform. Nobody deserves to die just because their beliefs are fucked up.
posted by gucci mane at 3:25 PM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


The kid didn't kill him because his beliefs are fucked up.
posted by leftcoastbob at 3:57 PM on November 7, 2013


I had a hard time trying to square the reasoning of the father who forbade his son from pointing even toy guns at people while sending said son on armed border patrol.

Guy could have both been a Neo-Nazi and a practitioner of basic gun safety.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 4:32 PM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Guy could have been both a Neo-Nazi and a practitioner of basic gun safety.

Indeed. The article mentions that Jeff did not even let Joseph point toy guns at people, let alone real ones. That's pretty much rule number one, right there.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:45 PM on November 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Indeed. The article mentions that Jeff did not even let Joseph point toy guns at people, let alone real ones. That's pretty much rule number one, right there.

Except he seemingly left a loaded gun in a location accessible to a child. I'm pretty sure that's on the NRA's list of 'things responsible gun owners don't do, so therefore we don't need gun control'.
posted by hoyland at 5:19 PM on November 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


When I was a kid, guns were unlocked but not loaded, and the advice was always, "Never point a gun at anything you don't intend to kill." With the idea that that certainly wouldn't be a person. If you're not so careful, ambiguous advice can cause trouble.
posted by LucretiusJones at 6:19 PM on November 7, 2013


Can someone explain to me the part about "yay a wonderful group home he could maybe be eligible for"/"oh wait he's going to this other place that maybe was discussed as bad earlier"? I'm sorry for being such an idiot but I literally don't understand if what happened at the end was good/constructive for him or not.

So horribly sad, reminds me of acquaintances and family of mine who have ended up in jail because they had some pretty serious developmental issues early on that were only met with mistreatment and abuse while they were children. It's so hard to know what could be.
posted by stoneandstar at 10:11 PM on November 7, 2013


"Can someone explain to me the part about "yay a wonderful group home he could maybe be eligible for"/"oh wait he's going to this other place that maybe was discussed as bad earlier"? I'm sorry for being such an idiot but I literally don't understand if what happened at the end was good/constructive for him or not."

The way I read it, it was arranged that he could spend his sentence in the group home they negotiated for him at the end of the trial. His sentence is officially 40 years, but because he wasn't tried as an adult, he can't serve that and what he will serve will be at this group home, at least to start.
posted by klangklangston at 10:47 PM on November 7, 2013


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