Police arrested five adult relatives who lived in the house with Mallo. They later pleaded guilty to a range of charges that included sexual abuse, child abuse and neglect.
Castelle also noted that at the time of the murder, Mallo's brain functioned at the capacity of a child half his age.
Castelle said this week that he will file a motion in early December, asking Webster for some type of reduction to Mallo's sentence. In 2010, Castelle filed a similar motion that asked the judge to consider keeping Mallo in the juvenile system past his 18th birthday. The judge has the power to sentence Mallo as a juvenile, despite his technical transfer to adult status, Castelle said.
If Webster chooses to sentence Mallo as an adult, then she has the option to sentence him to any number of years between the 10- to 40-year range statutorily required for second-degree murder.
"It is deeply inappropriate to confine an abused juvenile for years, or even decades, in an adult penitentiary for behavior that was, in essence, the result of a treatable medical condition brought on by years of abuse," Castelle said.
In June 2009, Mallo was yelling in front of his house, angry that some kids had made fun of him, when Phares told him to quiet down, according to previous Gazette reports.
Enraged, Mallo later entered Phares' home and stabbed her as many as 35 times with a black-handled pocketknife. Police said that he nearly decapitated the woman with the knife. Detectives said at the time that the murder was the most disturbing crime they had ever investigated.
Reach Zac Taylor at Zachary.tay...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.