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Boy, 10, charged with first degree murder after killing his abusive father

By Mason White 5:05 AM August 16, 2013
Benjamin Hillburn 

By: David Ross
(Scroll down for video) A boy was arrested and charged with murder related charges after killing his abusive father, according to court proceedings in New Mexico.

New Mexico prosecutors said that a 10-year-old local boy, who was charged with first-degree murder, will face a court this month in the murder of his father. The boy’s defense attorney claims that the boy and his siblings suffered abuse for years.

Benjamin Hillburn killed his father allegedly by shooting him in the back of the head in his dirty home in Belen, New Mexico, in 2009. Children, Youth and Families Department visited the Hillburn home at least seven times in the years before the shooting.

The child’s lawyer said the boy repeatedly tried to get help to stop the abuse he and his brothers received from their father, 42-year-old Byron Hillburn.

“I’ve been practicing law for 20 years and this is the saddest case I’ve seen in my life,” the boy’s attorney, William J. Cooley, said. “I do not know why this is even going to court,” he said.

The now 14-year-old boy lives in Oklahoma. The child will face a jury next week.
“We are going to court because we believe we have sufficient evidence to satisfy the burden of proof,” the prosecutor, Lemuel L. Martinez, said.

The child’s lawyer is trying to get the trial moved out of Valencia County because the father had strong ties with the police in the area. They are requesting a transfer to Sandoval County, north of Albuquerque.

The boy will not be tried as an adult. If found guilty, he will be in state custody until age 21, and he will have to participate in a rehabilitation plan.

There is no law against prosecuting a child at any age, in New Mexico.