A teenager who fatally shot a gay classmate in the back of the head during an Oxnard middle school computer lab will spend 21 years in prison under a plea deal reached Monday, closing the books on a case that drew international headlines and ignited debate on how schools should handle sexual identity issues.
Brandon McInerney, who was 14 when he pulled a gun out of his backpack and shot Larry King two times at point-blank range, will be kept behind bars until he is 38 under the terms of the deal struck by Ventura County prosecutors.
In an unusual arrangement, the 17-year-old pleaded guilty to second-degree and voluntary manslaughter. In return, prosecutors agreed not to go forward with a second trial, which could have resulted in a life sentence.
What makes this unusual is not that McInerney received a 21 year sentence. Rather, it is the charge. He brought a gun to school, sat behind Lawrence King and then shot him in the back of the head. According to California’s penal code, voluntary manslaughter is a killing committed in the heat of passion or in the moment. That really does not describe what McInerney did. Continue reading →
Prosecutors decided to retry Brandon McInerney as an adult for the killing of Lawrence King, however, they dropped the hate crime charge:
Prosecutors on Wednesday announced their intention to pursue a murder charge in adult court against 17-year-old Brandon McInerney. However, a hate crime charge will be dropped, Deputy District Attorney Maeve Fox said.
Last month, a judge declared a mistrial after a nine-woman, three-man panel couldn’t reach a unanimous decision on the degree of McInerney’s guilt for killing 15-year-old Larry King. After a series of votes, seven jurors were in favor of a voluntary manslaughter conviction, while five others supported either first-degree or second-degree murder.
Superior Court Judge Charles Campbell set a Nov. 21 trial date, according to Fox, but it’s unclear if it will be held in Ventura County. The first trial was moved to Los Angeles County due to pretrial publicity.