A boy accused of beating his disabled mother with an electrical cord made his first appearance in court Thursday, virtually swallowed by his chair as he sat next to his defense lawyer in Sacramento County Juvenile Court.
The Elk Grove youth, looking wide-eyed and younger than his 11 years, is facing charges of elder abuse and assault with a deadly weapon in connection with injuries to his mother.
Police arrested him at school Monday after they investigated a report that he had physically abused his mother, who is 51 and suffers from disabling medical conditions.
According to a police spokesman, the mother and son lived on their own in an Elk Grove home, where the son had primary responsibility for his mother's care.
Juvenile Court referee Natalie Lindsey appointed public defender Steven Garrett as the boy's attorney and postponed his arraignment until Monday.
Hearings involving juveniles typically are closed, but the court agreed with media petitioners who argued that the matter was of strong enough public interest that it should be open.
The Bee is not identifying the child or his mother because of the boy's age and the mother's disabilities.
In court Thursday afternoon, the boy smiled broadly when his father walked to the defense table and sat next to him. Garrett argued that the boy, who is still in custody at juvenile hall, should be able to live with his father while the case plays out.
Lindsey did not make a ruling. But following the hearing Garrett said, "I believe he'll soon be living with his father."
"This is a very sweet young man who is in a difficult situation, and I'll leave it at that," the lawyer said, declining further comment.
Elk Grove police said the boy beat his mother with an electrical cord more than once, causing injuries that required her to be hospitalized. She has since been referred to Sacramento County Adult Protective Services.