Another trial "risky" for teenage killer Brandon McInerney

Brandon McInerney (left) shot and killed Lawrence King (right) at school.
The "gay panic" defense worked to get teenage killer Brandon McInerney a hung jury, and now another trial may be risky, the LA Times is reporting.

McInerney was facing charges for shooting and killing gay classmate Lawrence King, an act he doesn't deny. The issues were whether to try McInerney as an adult or minor (he was just 14 years old at the time) and whether to charge McInerney with murder or the less-serious voluntary manslaughter.  The judge declared a mistrial on Friday after the jury deliberated for 17 hours and couldn't reach a verdict.


Throughout the trial the court saw intense witness testimony from McInerney's family about his abusive father and unstable life as well as testimony from his teacher about King's supposed unwanted sexual advances that bordered the line of sexual harassment. Thus, the defense team sculpted a "gay panic" storyline about a boy leading a troubled life and rocky upbringing who just didn't want another boy constantly hitting on him. It worked.

Via the LA Times:
Prosecutors vowed Friday to immediately retry McInerney for fatally shooting Larry King, a 15-year-old student who’d begun to wear makeup and women’s attire to school.  
However, Ventura County prosecutors said they are considering whether to again try McInerney as an adult -- a choice that legal experts believe made it harder for them to win a conviction. Others, including Bradbury, said there are challenges beyond the defendant’s age.
“It will be equally difficult a second time despite the lawyers having gaining a wealth of information from individual jurors,” Bradbury said. 
Defense attorney and former prosecutor Dmitry Gorin said the prosecution overreached the first time around. 
“In a hate crime there is typically clear and convincing evidence that it was motivated by hate,” she said. 
“Children tend to have a myriad of reasons for killing," she added. "He may have had issues with the victim being gay, but that interaction was probably a lot more complex, and jurors saw that.”
I think the jury would have been less reluctant to come to a verdict if the prosecution had pursued the lesser voluntary manslaughter charge. While his actions were inexcusable and he is legally old enough to be held responsible, McInerney shouldn't be in the same category as a 30-year-old who shoots someone point blank. The jury probably saw that and couldn't come to a conclusion. I hope this ordeal gets resolved soon and McInerney gets the help he clearly needs.


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