Jeff Hall, 32, was shot to death near point-blank range in his own home. The defendant, now 12 years old, wanted to kill Hall because of a history of domestic violence, Riverside County prosecutor Michael Soccio said in opening statements. According to the arrest declaration, the boy told police he was tired of his dad hitting him and his mom.
"He held the gun about a foot away and as he explained, he took four fingers and put them into the trigger and pulled the trigger back and the gun discharged," Soccio told the court while showing images of a bloodied victim on the couch covered by a blue blanket.
Hall was an out-of-work plumber who was regional leader of the National Socialist Movement.
Soccio dismissed the notion that Hall's neo-Nazi beliefs contributed to the son's penchant for violence, as the defense maintains.
"You'll learn that (the child) would have shot his father even if he'd been a member of the Peace and Freedom Party. It made no difference," he said.
Defense attorney Matthew Hardy argued in his opening statements that the boy had grown up in an abusive and violent environment that led him to believe it was good and right to kill people who were a threat to one's safety and the safety of one's family.
Hall taught the boy to shoot guns, took him to neo-Nazi rallies and once took him to the Mexican border to teach him how to protect his country from illegal immigrants, Hardy said.
"If you were going to create a monster, if you were going to create a killer, what would you do?" he said. "You'd put him in a house where there's domestic violence, child abuse, racism."
Hardy claimed the boy's stepmother Krista McCrary, who is expected to testify, manipulated the boy into killing Hall because he was going to leave her for another woman. Hall sent her text messages that night telling her he would divorce her and had left a party with another woman, Hardy said.
The boy is not being charged as an adult. A spokesman for California's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said if the boy is found guilty, he could be held in state custody until he is 23 years old.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.