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Boy who shot neo-Nazi father had a history of violence, psychologist testifies

By Phil Willon, Los Angeles TimesJanuary 8, 2013, 1:21 a.m.

The Riverside boy who shot and killed his neo-Nazi father had a history of violence since he was a toddler, but there was no indication that his father condoned such brutality, a mental health expert for the prosecution testified Monday.

Clinical psychologist Anna Salter said the boy, who was 10 years old when he pulled the trigger, told her that his father tried hard to get the boy’s violence under control — on occasion beating the child as punishment for an outburst.

“He didn’t know what else to do,” Salter testified during the juvenile court proceeding in Riverside.

The boy’s outbursts included an attempt to strangle a teacher with a telephone cord and stabbing classmates with pencils, Salter testified.

Jeffrey Hall, regional director of a neo-Nazi organization called the National Socialist Movement, was asleep on his living room couch in May 2011 when his son walked downstairs with a loaded .357 magnum revolver, pulled the hammer back and fired.

Salter told the court she found it “very odd” that Hall had not been threatening the boy at the time — they had spent a “family movie night” together hours earlier. The boy told police, however, that he lived in fear and was tired of his father’s beatings.

“He said he just wanted to end the father-son thing,” Salter testified.

Salter said the boy, at the time of the shooting, knew that killing his father was wrong, admitting as much to police and his stepmother just hours after the shooting.

Chief Deputy Dist. Atty. Michael Soccio, in his opening statement, argued that the boy coldly plotted to kill his father because he was afraid that Hall was about to divorce the boy’s stepmother. Soccio said the boy’s actions had nothing to do with Hall’s neo-Nazi beliefs.

Public Defender Matthew Hardy, however, countered that the boy’s moral compass was warped by living in an abusive, violent household where his father, in drunken rages, beat him regularly and where other neo-Nazis often gathered to celebrate their hate-filled and violent beliefs.

The mental health expert for the defense, psychologist Robert Geffner, testified in November that violence, guns and talk of killing permeated the Hall household, which taught the boy that “violence is the appropriate way in his world.”

The prosecution’s expert attempted to counter that view Monday, telling the court that the boy’s violent streak began before he was 3 years old, when his outbursts led his grandmother to refuse to baby-sit him.

Salter said the boy’s birth mother reportedly used heroin, LSD and other drugs while she was pregnant and then neglected the boy when he was a baby. Hall and his first wife divorced shortly after the boy was born. Hall won full custody when the boy was 3.

Salter, an expert in child psychology, violence and sexual abuse, was called to testify after the prosecution’s initial mental health expert was barred from appearing because he had taken part in a confidential interview of the boy.

In court, the boy sat fidgeting next to his attorney and a juvenile probation officer. The boyish face of a sandy-haired child has been transformed since he first appeared in court two years ago. He appeared thinner and reportedly lost weight since being placed on medication to control his hyperactivity in juvenile hall, where he has been housed since the shooting.

Salter interviewed the boy for six hours in November and described him as well-behaved and direct. She refuted testimony from the defense psychologist that he had been molested by his father, saying the boy told her that he had no memory of that occurring.

During the interview, the boy accused his stepmother, Krista F. McCary, of telling him to kill Hall. McCary has not been charged in connection with the killing. She was convicted in 2011 of child endangerment and weapons charges and placed on four years’ probation.

Judge Jean P. Leonard must decide whether the child knew that his actions were wrong at the time of the shooting. If she rules that the boy did not comprehend that his actions were wrong, he would be set free. If she finds the boy responsible for the killing, a hearing will be held to determine punishment. He could remain in juvenile custody until he is 23.

Salter saidshebelieves that the boy could still lead a productive life, if he’s given proper care.

“I think [the boy] has a tragic history. I think he has had a tragic upbringing,” she said. “I don’t think [he] is a hopeless case.”

Police search for suspect in alleged attempted sex assault at UCLA

UCLA police were searching Tuesday for a man who allegedly attempted to sexually assault a student while she was walking on campus.

The woman was walking east between parking structure No. 9 and the No. 4 engineering building between 1:15 and 1:30 a.m. Monday, when she was approached by a man who “placed her in a bear hug” and attempted to sexually assault her, police said in a statement.

The woman was able to break free and was not injured in the incident.

The suspect was described as a white or light-skinned Asian with a thin build and short black hair. Believed to be about 30 years old, he was wearing a gray, hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans. He is about 5-feet-11 and 160 pounds, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at (310) 794-5824.

Judge weeps as ‘Dating Game’ serial killer Rodney Alcala sentenced

California serial killer Rodney Alcala was sentenced to additional prison time in New York for the murders of two more women, a case that brought a veteran judge to tears during the hearing.

Alcala, who is already on death row in California for the murders of four women and a girl, pleaded guilty in December to the 1971 murder of Cornelia Crilley and the 1977 murder of Ellen Hover, both in New York. On Monday, New York Supreme Court Judge Bonnie Wittner handed down a sentence of 25 years to life in prison, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“This kind of case is something I’ve never experienced, hope to never again. I just want to say I hope these families find some peace and solace for these inexplicably brutal and horrific acts,” Wittner said, according to the Journal.

PHOTOS: California serial killers

Wittner then dissolved into tears. “As I said, in 30 years I’ve never had a case like this,” she said.

Alcala raped and strangled Crilley, a 23-year-old TWA flight attendant, inside her Upper East Side apartment in 1971. Six years later, he killed Hover, also 23 and living in Manhattan. Her body was found in Westchester County, not far from her family’s estate.

The Journal reported that many in attendance at Monday’s sentencing wore stickers bearing the black-and-white photograph that initially appeared in stories about Crilley’s death. “Cornelia Always in Our Hearts,” the stickers read.

Crilley’s sister, Katie Stigell, spoke to the court, using most of her time talking about her sister, who “was in her prime” and “wouldn’t hurt anybody.” But Stigell also had words for Alcala.

“Mr. Alcala, I want you to know you broke my parents’ hearts,” Stigell said. “They never really recovered.”

Hover’s stepsisters declined to appear in court. Instead, prosecutor Alex Spiro read a letter on their behalf, the Journal reported.

“Ellen was a sweet, kind, generous, compassionate, loving and beautiful young woman. She chose to see the good in everyone she met because she had a huge and open heart,” the letter read. “Her senseless murder irreparably damaged our family.”

Alcala, a self-styled playboy who once appeared on “The Dating Game” TV match-making show, spent much of the 1970s eluding police by changing identities and locales. He has been behind bars since 1979, when he was arrested in the death of 12-year-old Robin Samsoe of Huntington Beach.

Twice he was sent to death row for murder, but both convictions were overturned on appeal. In February 2010, he was convicted again for Samsoe’s murder and for the murders of four women in Los Angeles County. He is now awaiting execution.

At a news conference after Monday’s hearing, Manhattan Dist. Atty. Cyrus Vance said Alcala would be returned to California, where he is appealing his death-penalty conviction. Should that conviction be overturned, Vance said, Alcala would return to New York for his sentence.

The extent of Alcala’s crimes were revealed as a task force formed by the Los Angeles Police Department and other agencies that was examining cold cases tied him to slayings across Southern California. New York police had long considered Alcala a suspect in the slayings of Crilley and Hover and had taken impressions of his teeth in 2003. Alcala had lived in New York periodically between 1968 and 1977.

During that period, Crilley was found raped and strangled with her nylon stockings in her Manhattan apartment. Around that time, Alcala was working at a summer camp for girls in New Hampshire, authorities said.

Hover went missing in July 1977 and her body was discovered the following year. Before she disappeared, she had written the name “John Berger” in a planner, a name police believe Alcala used as an alias while in New York.

The Southern California killings began just a few months later.


— Alcala is convicted in the 1968 rape and beating of an 8-year-old girl.

Nov. 10, 1977 — The body of 18-year-old Jill Barcomb is found in the Hollywood Hills. She had been sexually assaulted, bludgeoned and strangled with a pair of blue pants.

Dec. 16, 1977 — Georgia Wixted, 27, is found beaten to death at her home in Malibu. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled.

1978  Alcala appears in an episode of “The Dating Game” as Bachelor No. 1.

June 24, 1978 — Charlotte Lamb, a 32-year-old legal secretary from Santa Monica, is found in the laundry room of an El Segundo apartment complex. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled with a shoelace.

June 14, 1979 — Jill Parenteau, 21, of Burbank is found strangled on the floor of her Burbank apartment.

June 20, 1979 – Robin Samsoe, 12, disappears near the Huntington Beach Pier. Her body is found 12 days later in the Sierra Madre foothills.

AlcalaJuly 24, 1979 — Rodney James Alcala, an unemployed photographer, is arrested at his parents’ Monterey Park home.

September 1980 – Alcala is convicted of the 1978 rape of a 15-year-old Riverside girl and sentenced to nine years in state prison.

June 20, 1980 — Orange County Superior Court Judge Philip E. Schwab sentences Alcala to death after he is convicted of Samsoe’s murder.

July 11, 1980 — The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office files murder, burglary and sexual assault charges against Alcala in the slaying of Parenteau.

April 15, 1981 — The L.A. district attorney’s office tells a judge that prosecution of Alcala in the Parenteau case could not proceed because a key witness admitted that he had committed perjury in another case.

Aug. 23, 1984 — The state Supreme Court reversed Alcala’s murder conviction in connection with Samsoe, ruling that the jury was improperly told about Alcala’s prior sex crimes.

June 20, 1986 — For the second time, Alcala is convicted for Samsoe’s murder and sentenced to death in Orange County Superior Court.

AlcalaDec. 31, 1992 — The California Supreme Court unanimously upholds Alcala’s death sentence.

April 2, 2001 — A federal appellate court overturns Alcala’s death sentence in the Samsoe case, ruling that the Superior Court judge precluded the defense from presenting evidence “material to significant issues.”

June 5, 2003 — The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office files murder charges against Alcala alleging that he killed Wixted during a burglary and rape.

Sept. 19, 2005 — Additional murder charges are filed against Alcala in connection to the deaths of Barcomb, Wixted and Lamb.

Jan. 11, 2010 — Alcala’s trial for the five murders begins. He represents himself.

Man found dead outside bar near Cal State Northridge

A man was found dead with a gunshot wound early Tuesday outside a bar near Cal State Northridge, and the case is being investigated as a homicide, police said.

The body of the man believed to be in his late 20s to mid 30s was discovered shortly before 2:30 a.m. in the parking lot of the College Inn bar on the 8600 block of Lindley Avenue, said Lt. Aaron Ponce of the Los Angeles Police Department.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators say no one reported hearing gunshots.

“The origination of the call wasn’t even a gunshot call,” Ponce said.

Burglary suspect shot, wounded by Long Beach police

An investigation was ongoing Tuesday after an officer-involved shooting in Long Beach that wounded a burglary suspect, authorities said.

The incident began about 6 p.m. Monday when detectives — including at least some who were undercover — were looking for the suspect near 4th Street and Cherry Avenue, Long Beach police Sgt. Aaron Eaton told reporters Monday night.

Detectives found the suspect in a nearby alley and “at that point, the suspect displayed a handgun and an officer-involved shooting occurred,” Eaton said.

The man, who was wanted on suspicion of burglary in addition to a possible weapons violation, was taken to a local hospital for treatment, Eaton said. His condition was not immediately known Tuesday morning.

Eaton said no officers were injured. He declined to say how many were involved in the incident, except that “several” were searching for the suspect.

A handgun was recovered at the scene, Eaton said.

Detectives were “still trying to piece together” the moments leading up to the shooting, he said.

One witness, Geno Rossinni, told the Long Beach Press-Telegram that he saw the shooting from his apartment overlooking the alley.

Rossinni told the newspaper that undercover officers in unmarked SUVs confronted the suspect in his vehicle. The suspect got out of the vehicle, Rossinni said, and the undercover officers yelled at him to stop before they shot him.

The newspaper said Eaton would not comment on Rossinni’s account.

Assembly speaker introduces bill to close legal loophole in rape cases

Assembly Speaker John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles) has joined with a Republican lawmaker to introduce legislation that would close a legal loophole that led a state appeals court to overturn the rape conviction of a California man.

Citing a 19th century law, the Los Angeles-based 2nd District Court of Appeals ruled last week that a man who impersonates someone in order to have sexual intercourse may be guilty of rape only if the victim was married and the man was pretending to be her husband.

“This is an appalling failure of justice, and I am committed to acting swiftly to prevent a similar occurrence in the future,” Perez said in a statement. “Like every Californian, I was deeply disturbed by this decision, and my colleagues and I will work on eliminating this glaring loophole in state law and protect Californians from such a gross violation.”

The legislation, AB 65, would expand the definition of rape to include cases where a perpetrator impersonates a person’s boyfriend or girlfriend.

Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo) is the measure’s co-author. He introduced similar legislation in 2011, but it died in the state Senate Public Safety Committee, where lawmakers have a longstanding policy of shelving bills that could exacerbate the state’s prison overcrowding crisis.

“Today, Republicans and Democrats are joining together to make an important statement — the Legislature will not stand for rapists getting away with their heinous acts because of an ancient provision in state law,” Achadjian said in a statement. “The overwhelming response last week to an injustice in the law that I’ve been fighting to end for quite some time will give our proposal the strong momentum it needs to be enacted into law.”

The legislation has the support of 13 state senators and 30 Assembly members.

Man shot dead by deputies identified


A man was shot and killed by a Lee County Sheriff’s Office deputy early Friday after allegedly shooting at deputies.

According to LCSO, deputies were called to respond to a disturbance at Cadillac Jack’s on US-41 near Island Park Road.

Deputies arrived to find 25 to 50 people involved in a large fight in the parking lot.

They were then informed that a vehicle had fled the area. Deputies pursued the vehicle and pulled it over near the intersection of US-41 and Alico Road.

Deputies say a male passenger, later identified as 21-year-old Joseph Blake Powell, who was armed with a gun, got out of the vehicle and fired the weapon, then ran north behind the CVS pharmacy on the corner of the intersection.

“They started firing with each other- you could tell it was two different guns because it sounded like two different calibers firing,” said witness Hugh Kiser.

More shots were fired and Powell was killed. No deputies were injured.

Those gunshots woke up residents of the neighboring RV park.

“We heard the shots- that’s what got us out of bed,” Mitchell said.

Witnesses say they heard over a dozen rounds, and then watched as deputies performed CPR on Powell until an ambulance arrived.

There was an active warrant for Powell’s arrest for probation violation when the vehicle was stopped.

According to deputies, the driver of the vehicle obeyed their orders and is not currently being charged with anything, but he is being questioned by investigators.

Detectives are still investigating the incident and additional details will be posted as they become available.

“It will take us a while to ascertain exactly what was transpiring, and whether anyone was injured at Cadillac Jacks,” said LCSO spokesman, Lieutenant Larry King.

King says shots were fired at Cadillac Jack’s as well, although they believe those shots were fired into the air.

It is still unclear if Powell was the person who fired those shots.

Due to the investigation, the southbound lanes of US-41 at Alico Road were closed and detoured onto Alico Road until around 12:30 p.m.

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