Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Why is Larry King Put On Trial for His Own Murder? Get the Full Story

Larry King (Newsweek graphic from "Young, Gay and Murdered")

Chatsworth, California – Larry King was murdered in cold blood in his first period computer classroom.  As he unsuspectingly worked on a paper on World War II, his middle school classmate, Brandon McInerney, allegedly moved up behind him and shot him in the back of the head before the unbelieving eyes of dozens of students and Ms. Joy Boldrin, his teacher. Then McInerney, who had been a party to harassing Larry for months about his gender non-conformity, pointed the .22 pistol again and delivered a coup de grace to Larry’s ravaged head.  In his landmark book,Unfinished Lives: Reviving the Memories of LGBTQ Hate Crimes Victims (Resource Publications 2011) , Dr. Stephen Sprinkle treats the King/McInerney story at length, exploring the backgrounds and struggles of both teenagers. In the chapter, “Baby Boys, You Stay On My Mind,” Sprinkle sets Larry’s murder in the context of other assassinations of femininely presenting boys of color throughout the United States in early 2008.  Larry King fought back with the only power he had: his camp persona.  Half African-American, he was small, gracile, and not nearly as strong as the gang of boys, the “Young Marines,” surrounding Brandon McInerney. Larry learned to flirt in order to push back against his harassers. By the time of his murder, Larry was a five-year veteran of bullying in schools. McInerney, though slightly younger than Larry, was cultivating a “cool” image with middle school girls–an image aided by his overt harassment of Larry, “the little fag.” Underneath the surface of McInerney’s “cool,” though, was a budding white supremacist, whose confused masculinity chose violence as a way to silence the boy who turned the tables on him. Almost from the moment Larry’s murder hit the newswire, journalists started digging for dirt on the young gender outlaw.  Newsweek’s infamous article by Ramin Satoodeh labeled Larry a sexual aggressor in a blaze of controversial hot type. The Gun Lobby sprang into action to defend handguns. Larry’s partisans struck out at McInerney’s character, too. As Sprinkle details the journalistic feeding frenzy in the days following the murder, “these two boys were both abused by a media establishment determined to give a voracious public the news it was hungry to have: digestible pictures of a victim and his alleged killer to feed the insatiable American fascination with teen-on-teen violence.” 

Opening arguments in the McInerney trial, now taking place after three years of legal wrangling over Brandon’s status as a juvenile or an adult, and a critical change of trial venue, are busy following the lead of the media. Larry is being portrayed as a maladjusted predator (at 15? How is this possible?), and McInerney is being painted as a first-degree murderer who planned homicide in large part because of his homophobia and transphobia. The defense is indulging in a what amounts to the gay panic defense that has been discredited in courtrooms throughout the nation. Behind the defense strategy is the amazing idea that any expression of sexuality on the part of a gender non-conforming person makes violence legitimate in response. Just as Sprinkle surmised, the trial is going to turn on whether Larry King can be put on the stand as the chief malefactor instead of the defendant. As Sprinkle says, “There is a stark difference between the boys that no media wizard can resolve.  While Brandon remains alive and able to defend himself against the negative portrayals of his identity, Larry King cannot. He lost his voice in death” (Unfinished Lives, p. 284).

Unfinished Lives recounts in a chapter-length format the backstory of this, the most-publicized anti-LGBTQ hate crime murder since the slaying of Matthew Shepard in 1998. The book also tells the stories of thirteen other gay, lesbian, and transgender lives in these United States cut brutally short by unreasoning violence.  Unfinished Lives will be an indispensable resource for anyone wanting to understand the McInerney murder trial for what it really is.  To explore or purchase the book, go to http://www.amazon.com/Unfinished-Lives-Reviving-Memories-Victims/dp/1608998118/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1310064063&sr=1-1 or to https://wipfandstock.com/store/Unfinished_Lives_Reviving_the_Memories_of_LGBTQ_Hate_Crimes_Victims

July 7, 2011 - Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Blame the victim, Bullying in schools, California, Character assassination, Execution, gay bashing, gay panic defense, gay teens, gender identity/expression, Gender Variant Youth, GLBTQ, gun violence, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Lesbian women, LGBTQ, Media Issues, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Remembrances, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, trans-panic defense, transgender persons, transphobia | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I do consider all of the ideas you’ve offered to your post. They are very convincing and will definitely work. Still, the posts are very short for novices. Could you please lengthen them a bit from subsequent time? Thank you for the post.

    Comment by computer repair Chicago | October 18, 2011

    • Perhaps you would prefer a book format. Try my recently published book, Unfinished Lives, available from Amazon and Wipf and Stock Publishers.

      Best wishes,

      Steve Sprinkle

      Comment by unfinishedlives | October 19, 2011

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