Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Plea Deal for Larry King’s Murderer: The Inside Story

Brandon McInerney pled guilty to the execution-style murder of his gay teen classmate, Larry Fobes King.

Ventura County, California – Prosecutors in the Brandon McInerney murder trail agreed to a plea deal rather than take young gay Larry King’s confessed killer into court a second time, according to EDGE Boston.  McInerney, 14 at the time he shot his 15-year-old gay classmate in the back of the skull in his middle school computer class in 2008, will be sentenced today.

The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office agreed to a deal because they couldn’t be sure what would happen if they put McInerney back on trial again.

McInerney’s defense team succeeded in putting King on trial for his own murder, at least enough so that the jury in the first trial could not agree on a verdict, and a mistrial was declared.  While legal experts saw the case as a clear-cut instance of pre-meditated murder, the prosecutors for Ventura County could not surmount the sympathy factor for the 14-year-old, and the discomfort factor in the way the press and the defense portrayed King.  Instead of the forthright homophobic murder the prosecution sought, a combination of child-nostalgia and anti-transgender and anti-gay bias turned King into a “Franken-Larry,” a devious, dangerous homosexual predator–a portrayal that could not have been further from the truth about the real boy who was in transition from a scared, bullied gay school kid to a youth who could affirm and live out his gender variance.

Media distortion in the King case started as early as the first reports about the murder, with sensational accounts of what young King wore to school, and his responses to McInerney’s bullying.  Ramin Satoodeh, reporter for Newsweek, wrote a cover story on King that was devastating–likening the boy to a monstrous little predator, tottering after his love interests in platform heels.  McInerney’s defense lawyers countered prosecution evidence of his Neo-Nazi and white supremacist motives by casting King, who was smaller and weaker than McInerney, as the aggressor, and skillfully used the press to drive this point home.  The California law making a 14-year-old prosecutable as an adult in heinous cases using firearms (which this case was in both particulars) was also put on trial in the media.

In the end, justice for Larry King was not the goal of a chastised district attorney’s office.  Assistant DA Mike Frawley said that they “took into consideration the time [McInerney would have to spend] in jail to protect the community.”  McInerney’s murder conviction has been stayed, and he will be sentenced to 11 years for voluntary manslaugher, and 10 years for the use of a firearm. With the four years he has already served in jail, McInerney will serve 25 years total.  Had the first-degree murder conviction been impose, he would have served 51 years.  Now, the confessed murderer of a young gay boy will be out on the street by his 39th birthday, and the dubious “gay panic defense” receives new life in the American legal system.

December 19, 2011 - Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Blame the victim, Bullying in schools, California, gay bashing, gay teens, Gender Variant Youth, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, LGBTQ, Media Issues, Neo-Nazis and White Supremacy, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, School and church shootings, transgender persons, transphobia | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] to cloud the minds of jurors enough to lighten the sentence, should their client be found guilty.  The recent King-McInerney gay killing in Oxnard, California gave the gay panic defense new life in American courts.  Defense attorneys for McInerney, a teen […]

    Pingback by Gay Panic Murder of Homeless Disabled Man in Connecticut « Unfinished Lives | January 5, 2012 | Reply


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