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Boy accused of killing Dad: Is abuse the motive?

by Maggie O'Mara

Bio | Email | Follow: @maggiektvb7


Posted on May 21, 2009 at 6:35 AM

Updated Thursday, Oct 22 at 11:10 AM

MOTIVE: Sexual and Physical Abuse?

Last night, I was watching the news at home (along with all of you) - when I saw the video of 14 year old Zachary Neagle in shackles in court. He's charged with the first degree murder of this father.

I may be a news anchor who sees this kind of thing often, but I have to admit it was hard for me to watch. I was feeling so many different emotions, maybe you were too.

Zachary Neagle, 14.jpg
Zachary Neagle, 14

This middle school boy is accused of shooting and killing his father, and just yesterday we found out about a possible motive - investigators say he may have been sexually and physically abused by his Dad. He also has a 9 year old sister and a 6 year old brother - who may have been abused too. Nothing has been proven, but investigators tell us family members say this may in fact be the case. The investigation is ongoing...

When I heard this, I posted a question on my KTVB Facebook page to hear feedback from viewers... and I got a lot of passionate comments about this new information.

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Maggie O'Mara: New details: 14 year old Caldwell boy who police say killed his father - may have been sexually and physically abused. Does this change how you feel about the case?

Here are the responses:

Josh Marks at 6:31pm May 20
Everyone has the right to defend themselves. If they prove he was, put him into therapy so he doesn't do it again.

Karen Dawson at 6:36pm May 20
I believe that if one was abused as a young innocent child, the rage inside them can be unpredicatable and violent. No prison just professional help...

Renay Van Cleave at 6:39pm May 20
If the abuse happened it sounds like the boy saved his siblings from future harm, but damage has already been done. (Sating the obvious here)

Kim 'Wilson' Gibson at 6:40pm May 20
I'll admit, that detail has caused me to look at him differently. Definitely with more sympathy. We just never know what goes on behind closed doors. It's so sad. I've always thought of these things happening somewhere else--but my boys all went to Vallivue Middle School. It's all very close to home.

Sylvia Olivas Champion at 6:46pm May 20
Yes it does....he deserved what he got..If he was sexually abusing that boy.

Kelly Wynne Peone at 6:51pm May 20
Yes it does change it for me. I went to school with the boy's father so the newest details made me feel sick. So what's better? Hoping that the accusation of abuse turns out to be not true? Or hoping that the boy was justified?

Karen Dawson at 7:05pm May 20
Actually, he killed a sexual abuser not his father.

Wendie Green at 8:33pm May 20
I agree with Karen Dawson. At that moment, the boy became a man (unfortunately) and he did what he had to do to defend his life. It's an animal instinct.

Ray Usog at 8:56pm May 20 via Facebook Mobile
Yes! Parents are to protect their children. Children our gifts from god. In my eyes he saved his siblings.

Kathy Wilson Throneberry at 9:39pm May 20
YES! If that was the case, I feel terrible for the boy and his brother and sister. Sounds like he was protecting himself and his siblings...

Pam Peterson Schill at 10:20pm May 20
If that is the case he must have wanted this to stop for his younger siblings.

Anita Jo Jahner at 11:54pm May 20
It's heartbreaking! Whatever the reason, this little boy needs counseling. If it is proven to be a result of physical or emotional abuse, the system needs to provide help for him and his siblings.

What do you think about this case?