Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Jurors in Teen Gay Murder Trial Imported for “Fairness”

Oxnard, CA – The Los Angeles Times reports that jurors must be imported to Ventura County from Santa Barbara County to insure a fair trial for a teenager accused of shooting his gay classmate to death.  Brandon McInerney, now 16, was 14 in February 2008 when he allegedly shot his gay middle school classmate to death during a morning computer class at E.O. Green School in Oxnard.  According to reports from eyewitnesses, McInerney walked up behind Larry King, 15, an openly gay person of color, aimed a pistol at the back of his head, and shot him twice.  King lingered in hospital with no evidence of brain function, and died some time later.  McInerney was charged with felony murder, and a judge in Ventura County determined he would stand trial as an adult.  Though the youth of the defendant made the ruling controversial, there was enough evidence of planning and premeditation on McInerney’s part that justice demanded he stand trial as an adult.  The pistol he allegedly used belonged to his grandfather.  King was a gender non-conforming boy who wore women’s accessories, used make up, and affected a gay demeanor.  He was living in a youth home because of trouble at home with his parents.  McInerney, who also came from a difficult home life, was said by classmates to be macho and troubled by the openness of King’s sexual identity.  Some claim that King had an obvious crush on McInerney, who took the attention badly.  The case has drawn national attention for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the youth of both boys.  Conservative pundits have argued that the shooting was prompted by King’s aggressive sexualized behavior.  LGBTQ activists have countered that no such evidence exists, and in any case nothing warrants the murder of a femininely presenting youth because of the discomfort of a classmate.  Defense attorneys contended that their client could not receive a fair trial in Ventura County because of the extensive media coverage given the case.  The Santa Barbara Independent reports that Ventura County prosecutors agreed that media saturation made it unlikely they could find an unbiased jury in their jurisdiction, but disagreed that the trial should be moved to another venue as the defense wished.  Instead, jurors from Santa Barbara County will be imported to the trial which will still be held in Ventura County Superior Court.  If McInerney is found guilty of first-degree murder with a hate crime sentence enhancement, he could conceivably be in prison for 53 years to life.

September 3, 2010 - Posted by | Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Blame the victim, California, gay panic defense, gay teens, gun violence, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, School and church shootings, trans-panic defense, transgender persons, transphobia | , , , , , , , , ,

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