In his written motion, Castelle said, "A harsh and prolonged adult sentence is inappropriate for a defendant who suffers from what was, in essence, a treatable medical condition caused by years of abuse and neglect."
Mallo quit school after seventh grade, but Castelle said he had the academic and behavioral skills of a first grader. He said he had endured "extreme mental, physical and sexual abuse and neglect."
But Webster said nothing in Mallo's background could explain the violence he exacted on 82-year-old Phares, a neighbor he had been friendly with. Police said the woman was stabbed 35 times with a pocketknife.
The investigation into that murder unveiled a Mallo home filled with filth, insect infestations, decay and criminal activity. Every adult member of his family was charged in some way, and two young children were removed from the home.
Assistant Prosecutor Maryclaire Akers said after a status hearing Tuesday that she would oppose any reduction in Mallo's sentence. She also objected when Webster ordered that Mallo be transported from Salem to Tiger Morton Juvenile Detention Center in Dunbar upon his birthday.
Akers said she fears the Dunbar facility isn't secure enough for Mallo. Akers would have preferred Mallo be transferred to South Central Regional Jail.
Although he was only 14 at the time of the murder, Webster agreed to transfer him to adult status for prosecution. He was also charged as an adult in Harrison County, prosecutors said.
Contact writer Cheryl Caswell at cher...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4832.