(09-21) 14:57 PDT BERKELEY -- A 15-year-old boy who murdered his father in their south Berkeley home in 2008 can be held in juvenile detention until he turns 25, a state appeals court ruled Tuesday, rejecting a defense argument that confinement wouldn't do the teenager any good.

Charles Faison, 40, who owned a security company and was an entertainment promoter, was shot in the head in his bedroom in June 2008. Police said his body was dragged through the home and left in the doorway.

One of his three children, identified by the court only as D.F., first told police he found the body in the doorway. Four months later, he told them he had been upstairs when he heard an argument and a gunshot, then went downstairs, saw his father lying dead and took the gun and hid it.

Police said they found gunshot residue on the youth's clothing. The boy's full name was not released because he was tried as a juvenile.

The First District Court of Appeal said D.F. was a ninth-grader who had no previous criminal record but had been suspended and disciplined many times at school, most recently for stealing a staff member's car. After his arrest, juvenile authorities said he had an "explosive behavior" disorder but had been given medication and had done well in their educational system.

Alameda County prosecutors charged D.F. with first-degree murder. At a hearing in September 2009, Superior Court Judge Gail Bereola said the evidence showed the youth had deliberately shot his father, then lied about it and was continuing to deny responsibility.

She sentenced him to 50 years to life. Because he was tried as a juvenile, however, he must be released at 25, said Bill Sessa, spokesman for the state Division of Juvenile Justice.

D.F.'s lawyer appealed the sentencing, saying the judge had failed to review the case thoroughly and determine that confinement would benefit the youth, as required by juvenile law.

The appeals court said some facts remain unclear, including a motive for the killing, but that the judge had reached an appropriate conclusion.

Considering the length of the sentence and the seriousness of the crime, the state detention system was "the only setting where he could receive the educational discipline, treatment and programs that would be of probable benefit to him," Justice Timothy Reardon said in the 3-0 ruling.

The youth's lawyer was unavailable for comment.

E-mail Bob Egelko at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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