The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Did Murdered Neo-Nazi Jeff Hall Abuse His Son?

By Leah Nelson on May 20, 2011 - 8:26 am, Posted in Extremist Crime, Neo-Nazi

New evidence has emerged in the case of a 10-year-old boy accused of shooting his neo-Nazi father to death, contradicting earlier accounts of a warm and child-centered home and instead suggesting that the boy had been seriously abused.

According to an account yesterday from The Associated Press, which was largely based on an L.A. Times story that cited court documents and police reports, the boy apparently had been pushed to the breaking point by his father’s abuse of him and his stepmother and was also frightened that he’d have to choose between them if his father’s behavior led to a divorce. Police took the child into custody on May 1, shortly after he allegedly shot Jeff Hall in their California home as he slept on a couch. Hall was the southwest regional leader of the National Socialist Movement (NSM), the country’s largest neo-Nazi group.

Earlier reports painted a picture of Hall as a loving parent who cared deeply about his five children despite his beliefs, a concerned father who so worried about violence from his enemies that he mounted surveillance cameras outside his home.

But the AP reported that Krista McCary, the boy’s 26-year-old stepmother and Hall’s widow, told police that Hall “hit, kicked and yelled at his son to punish him for being too loud or getting in his way.” Hall had also abused her and the 10-year-old’s younger sisters, she said. Separately, the boy reportedly told police that he suspected his father had been cheating on McCary, a situation he feared ultimately would force him to choose which parent to live with.

Police also reported that the Hall home was squalid, its floors strewn with unwashed laundry and empty beer bottles and its bathrooms stinking of urine, the AP said.

McCary has been charged with five counts of child endangerment and four counts of criminal storage of a firearm. Police discovered a .22-caliber rifle leaning against a wall a few feet from an unlocked ammunition storage cabinet in Hall’s garage. As for the handgun used to kill Hall, “it was right there on the shelf” in a closet – already loaded – the 10-year-old told investigators.

Little in AP’s report squared with The New York Times’ coverage of the Hall household, which painted a picture of a warm family, albeit one with disturbing racist values and a fondness for weaponry. The Times’ report relied in part on an account provided by photojournalist Julie Platner, 28, who spent months documenting the lives of members of the neo-Nazi NSM for the newspaper. Hall, who lived in Riverside, Calif., was her chief contact and guide, and she spent a great deal of time with the neo-Nazi leader and his family. “We talked a lot,” Platner told the Times. “I do believe in most ways [Hall and McCary] were good parents, despite the indoctrination of their children.”

The May 10 Times report juxtaposed images of a warm family life with Hall’s neo-Nazi beliefs, recounting, for instance, how the 10-year-old proudly showed off a gift his father had given him — a belt bearing the Nazi SS insignia. It described how family pictures decorated the walls of his home and recounted how Hall, quaffing German beer with his neo-Nazi pals, “gamely officiated at a sack race for his children.” In the midst of describing Hall’s virulent anti-Semitism and his armed patrols of the Mexican border, reporter Jesse McKinley noted, “Mr. Hall also bragged that he was teaching his son to use night vision equipment and shoot a gun.”

The NSM has long had an interest — a sometimes disturbing interest — in children. It is one of the few American hate groups to have a special youth division, the Viking Youth Corps. The youth auxiliary is open to 14- to 17-year-old boys and girls of pure European descent who promise that they don’t drink, smoke or do drugs, and who are children of NSM members or have a signed consent form from their parents. Children are taught military skills, National Socialist ideology, the history of the white race, and, in the words of leader Jeff Schoep, how to become a “more effective warrior.”

The NSM frequently boasts of its promotion of children. Its list of frequenly asked questions includes, “What is most important to National Socialists and the NSM?” The answer given is the 14 Words, a popular neo-Nazi slogan: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children.” In answer to the question, “What are the views of the NSM regarding child abuse and child pornography?” the same document says, “There is no reason in the entire universe to tolerate child molesters. All proven child molesters should be shot.”

There’s some irony in that last statement, given that the NSM’s one-time Indiana state leader, John Edward Snyder, is a registered sex offender — he brutally raped his wife while his son was also in their home — who was banned during his parole from any contact with children. Snyder went on the lam in 2004 to avoid arrest for parole violations and failing to register as a sex offender. He was captured in 2010 after being featured on an edition of “America’s Most Wanted.”

In the case of Jeff Hall and his family, the 10-year-old and his biological sister allegedly had previously been abused in the home of their biological mother, from which they were removed in 2003. At the same time, their mother’s 3-month-old twins (by another father) were hospitalized for “failure to thrive,” the AP said.

Hall’s son is due to appear in court on July 22. His lawyers are considering a plea of not guilty for reasons of insanity.

  • Paulie

    You are out of work, just like 15% of the population, but somehow you are special. Well it started with grandma and grandpa. Grandma seems like a real winner. Where was she in all of this? So it was all the kid’s fault. He was born a bad seed? Nobody (um grandma and grandpa) sought help for this child? The house is filthy and rank. Grandma couldn’t see her grandchildren were being abuse. Here’s a tip – a filthy house is sometimes the first clue that the children are being neglected also. Notice how I keep mentioning grandma. My mother believed that grandma’s had an especial responsibility toward their grandchildren – given their unique position and experience. The whole family was dysfunctional and for pop to chose Nazism in reaction to unemployment and was violent toward his own family says a lot about *his* background and upbringing. Needless to say, this child was taught that violence was the reaction and action in response to problems. So he did what he was taught. The only tragedy about this death was that the child had to experience doing this. Hopefully, the justice system will finally step in because that family is in deep, deep denial and help this child.

  • Ronald M Scanlon

    Let the child go free. Remove him from the environment in which he was growing. Place him with a family that can help him overcome the abuse and misery inflicted by many people in his life. Ignore the sensationalist press.

  • Monica

    Sorry I ment to say in Canada and Scandinavia he would be rehabilitated back into Society not incarcerated.

  • Monica

    I agree with April and Rebecca. The Nazis killed 6 million jews, they do promote abuse and murder. If a child is raised in this family, then they would lack proper nurturing. I raise my children by loving them and teaching my sons to love society! This boy was violent because is father promoted the violence of Nazis and children are the most impressionable. His son probably doesn’t even understand himself.
    I hope his son is rehabilitated not incarcerated like he would be in Canada and Scandinavia. The true responsibilty resided with his step mother. As a mom I personally don’t want a gun in my home. This way I protect my boys.

  • Rebecca Olesen

    My god, this is just sad and a total tragedy. So the kid kills the crappy dad, and now the ”beat down” wife is going to be ”charged” with all kinds of weapons offences, even though all that junk was obviously his, and nobody else was allowed to touch on threat of beating.

    I swear, regardless of what is happening, law enforcement and courts just have to find somebody to blame, there must be blame for everything. Oh that guys dead? Let’s blame her now, for everything.

    Can you imagine how screwed up the situation was for a 10 year old to KILL HIS own father? He obviously loves his stepmother very much.

    Also, a 10 year old shouldn’t even be charged like this. I’m sorry it has come down to this, but this is so rare, and like that 8 year old boy in Texas who killed his father, these kids need some REAL HELP, not jail or juvie which will totally destroy any last shred of humanity they have left inside of them.

    Studies prove that young kids who kill CAN be rehabilitated very successfully. They can barely understand the reality of what they have done. But for that to happen, they need to be somewhere it CAN happen.

    I am praying for this kid, his siblings, and his stepmom. Real mom sounds like another loser. Poor kid.

  • jems

    It appears this kid since a very young age was very violent to his classmates and others and was a big disciplinary problem and caused much grief for his caretakers. 60 minutes did a feature on this last night and relatives suggested that they believed no matter what that he likely would have killed his father at an older age. Seemed to suggest that the kid was a natural sociopath and his treatment had less to do with his behavior than people are making out. Pretty tragic story in any case.

  • Rebecca

    I say not guilty by reason of SANITY. Grown women can barely look for shelters and leave an abusive person and you expect children without a fully developed thinking the concrete thinking ability to figure out how to find a shelter much less reach out. get real…he taught him guns were the answer and he answered in kind. It is just wrong that abusers and extremist are here. Not saying that i think they should be is just sad that people come to become that way. I would wish that everyone would care about people, at least their family, but faced with a monster and taught as this child was, i’m sure he felt his options were limited. It is sad what happened to the child, I hope he does not have to spend his life in jail because of trying to get out of jail. But, it keeps going back…why was Jeff the way his was and when do people say, I had a bad life, but I can change me and go forward?

  • April Scheller

    We need to allow children the right to enter domestic violence shelters on their own in these circumstances. Many adults traumatized as children were battered terribly by one parent while the other refused to leave. Sadly child protective services often fails to become involved, especially if the parent however terrible is considered to have some influence in the community. Though murder of a parent is never excused one cannot help but feel the court might examine self defense occasionally. Children coerced by parents are in no better a position than are slaves themselves. They are also physically weaker and smaller, and often isolated. Many do not survive to be adults at all. We need to allow persons more autonomy in such circumstances. Had a child ever tried to escape such a home, he would be caught on tape, and would fear return as a runaway. These kids lived in bondage. The Klan still has its slaves, pure-white or otherwise.

  • Ben F

    What a terrible argument from “Jim Smith”. Just further proof of the requirements for white nationalist thought: lack of critical thinking, inability to argue properly, general inability to compose a coherent thought.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “Jews have been expelled from every country they have ever gotten a foothold in. Every single one. There are no exceptions.”

    They’ve also been let back in, every single one, there are no exceptions.

  • Sam Molloy

    Jim Smith, I don’t, for one. The Jewish faith is the basis for Christianity.

  • Jim Smith

    It’s not just neo-Nazis who despise Jews. Everyone hates Jews. Everyone in all of world history has always hated Jews. Jews have been expelled from every country they have ever gotten a foothold in. Every single one. There are no exceptions.

    So go ahead and keep labeling people “neo-Nazis” until you realize that other than Jews, only “neo-Nazis” exist.

  • Reynardine

    It’s pretty common that families whose pathologies include extreme authoritarianism exhibit both bigotry and hierarchical abuse. It’s also pretty common that in a divorce, the prime abuser, often a glib sociopath who has driven the other parent into decompensation, gets the kid. If it seldom ends as publicly as this, it nonetheless ends badly. Courts and guardian programs who both knew and cared about these factors could prevent many of these tragedies. They invariably fall for those who put on the best show, and that is the one who has the most money, the most clout, and the least conscience.

  • kate

    The Times resource was either naively sucked in by this family or had some sympathies toward their movement to have overlooked what must have been some obvious signs of serious dysfunction in that family.

    Another zero score for the amateurish antics of the press these days.

  • James Hutchings

    But…but how can this be? The NSM said he was a loving father and a good family man.

  • Sam Molloy

    If you look up Dysfunctional Family in the dictionary there’s a picture of this household.