LOS LUNAS, N.M. (KRQE) - A lawyer for an 11-year-old boy police say shot and killed hisfather was in a Valencia County Court Wednesday arguing the childshouldn't stand trial for murder.
The boy, Benjamin Hilburn, was not there, but attorney JeffBuckles told the judge his client is not competent to standtrial.
Buckles claimed Hilburn is too young to comprehend a complicatedmurder case in court.
District Judge John Pope entered a not guilty plea for Hilburnin his absence.
The boy was still 10 in August when he shot his Bryon Hilburn inthe head with a shotgun at the family home in Belen. Police saidthe boy told them he did it because he was being punished.
The prosecution and the defense had Hilburn examined by apsychologist to see if he was competent to stand trial.
Since there will be challenges over which side's test wascorrect, Pope decided the court would do its own competencyevaluation.
Hilburn's lawyer said he does not see how his client could beforced to go through a trial.
"I think any of your viewers that have a 10- or 11-year-oldchild were asked 'Could your child really participate meaningfullyabout the decisions of strategy and tactic in a full, complicatedcriminal lawsuit?' would say 'You have got to be kidding me,'"Buckles said.
The next court date will be scheduled once the court'sindependent competency evaluation is complete.
If Hilburn is convicted, the strongest penalty he would facewould be a jail term lasting until his 21st birthday.
Hilburn is staying with his mother in Rio Rancho, and his lawyersay he has weekly visits from psychologists.
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