Page last updated at 01:19 GMT, Sunday, 4 January 2009

Boy guilty of shooting his mother

Map of Arizona

A 12-year-old boy has been found guilty in the United States of murdering his mother following a row over his household chores.

A judge in Arizona ruled prosecutors had proved the boy acted intentionally when he shot his mother, Sara Madrid, eight times last year.

The boy, from the city of Douglas in Cochise County, was found guilty of premeditated murder.

He has not been identified because he was charged as a juvenile.

He is due to be sentenced on 23 January.

The hearing took place in Cochise County Superior Court in the southern Arizona town of Bisbee.

According to prosecutors, the shooting happened after the boy had argued with his mother over chores.

He got a pistol from a bedroom cupboard and shot Sara Madrid repeatedly.

Abuse claims

Her live-in boyfriend of 10 years, Alfonso Munoz, saw what happened and he says the boy gave him the empty gun afterwards.

Mr Munoz, who helped raise the boy, said he had taught him how to use the weapon for emergencies and self-defence.

The boy's lawyer argued the child did not intend to kill his mother, but only wanted to get back at her for abusing him.

Police said the boy told them his mother yelled at him and slapped him.

Prosecutors wanted the child tried as an adult, but the judge ruled the case should remain in juvenile court after a psychologist and psychiatrist testified that he suffered physical and verbal abuse from his mother and could be rehabilitated in the juvenile justice system.

Under Arizona law, the boy can be held only until he turns 18 years of age.

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