Boy Shoots Gay Classmate In The Head Over Alleged Crush
(Daily Mail) Brandon McInerney was a 14-year-old from a broken home when he was accused of gunning down a gay classmate in front of stunned students at an Oxnard, California middle school in 2008.
Three years later - and six months shy of legally becoming an adult - McInerney is going on trial on first-degree murder and hate crime charges in the killing of 15-year-old Larry King.
If convicted, McInerney faces 53 years to life in prison.
Opening statements are scheduled for today at a Chatsworth courthouse, where the defense will argue for voluntary manslaughter, saying he was young, immature and provoked.
The conflict between the two boys, who both had troubled upbringings, didn’t seem out-of-place for teens coping with adolescence. There were taunts, teasing and on at least one occasion, a scuffle between Larry and McInerney, who purportedly tried to get others to beat up Larry.
The day before the shooting on February 12, 2008, one of McInerney’s friends told authorities that Larry uttered the words ‘I love you’ as he passed McInerney in a hallway, according to court documents filed by prosecutors.
The friend said McInerney told him he was ‘going to get a gun and shoot (Larry),’ according to court papers. One of Larry’s friends claimed McInerney told her, ‘Say goodbye to your friend Larry, because you’re never going to see him again.’
The following day, as the boys sat in a computer lab, McInerney drew a .22-caliber gun from his sweatshirt and shot Larry in the back of the head.
Prosecutor Maeve Fox wrote in court documents McInerney ‘then stood up as Larry collapsed to the floor, looked around at his astonished classmates and delivered a second coup-de-grace shot into the back of Larry’s head.’
White supremacist materials were found in McInerney’s bedroom, including books and drawings of swastikas.
At a preliminary hearing last year, a police detective testified that Larry’s sexuality was an affront to McInerney’s ideology, and was probably the motive for the crime.
McInerney has pleaded not guilty to murder, lying in wait and a hate crime.
Larry, who told some people he was gay, lived at a center for abused and neglected children in the months before his death. Girls used him as a pawn to clear a table of boys at lunch, according to prosecutors. When Larry asked to sit with them, the boys got up and sometimes called him derogatory names.
McInerney came from an abusive household where his father, William McInerney, was sentenced for battery against his mother in 2000. William McInerney also was accused of shooting her in the elbow several months before his son was born.
He died in March 2009 of blunt-force head trauma at his home. The coroner ruled his death was accidental.
Larry’s death has roiled gay-rights advocates and parents in Oxnard, a city about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
They wondered why school officials hadn’t done more to stop the harassment toward Larry by students, including McInerney. Larry’s family sued the school district, among two dozen defendants, for failing to protect the teenager.
Vigils have been held in his memory across the nation, and thousands of comments were left on internet sites dedicated to him in the weeks following the shooting.
Mr Lyon said the tragedy could foster discussion between adults and children about intolerance.
‘This kind of case is something students can discuss to deal with prejudices and alleviate them,’ he said.
Wippert and co-counsel Robyn Bramson say McInerney client doesn’t deny the killing but that he lacked maturity as a 14-year-old to deal with King’s advances.
Bramson said last week outside the courthouse, where jury selection was underway, he shot King ‘in the heat of passion caused by the intense emotional state between these two boys at school.’
While McInerney will be tried as an adult because of the gravity of the alleged crime, some legal experts said the panel could be more lenient because of his youth.
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