New Mexico Boy Set to Go to Court in Father’s Killing
The 10-year-old New Mexico boy lived in an abusive, filthy home and had tried desperately to get help to stop the beatings he and his younger siblings had for years faced at the hands of their abusive father, his attorney says.
Then, one day in 2009, prosecutors say, he put a gun to the head of his 250-pound father and killed him at their Belen, N.M., home.
After years of stops and starts, the boy is scheduled to face a jury this month for first-degree murder in a rare prosecution expected to highlight the debate over whether children that young are capable of the pre-meditation required for such a serious charge. Experts say the boy, now 14 and living in Oklahoma, is just one of a handful of very young children in the nation’s history to face such a conviction.
”I’ve been practicing law for 20 years and this is the saddest case I’ve ever seen,” said the boy’s attorney, William J. Cooley. ”I don’t know why this is even going to court.”
The boy’s dad also kept loaded guns around the house, Cooley said.
Already, the defense team won a victory earlier this year when a state appeals court blocked prosecutor’s attempt to force the boy’s sister, then 6 years old, to testify. Prosecutors say she saw the shooting.
But Cooley said that didn’t matter. ”Here you had a 250-pound man who liked to kick these kids around,” Cooley said. ”The state failed to protect them. That’s the issue.”
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I hope those kids will be OK.