More than three years after 15-year-old Lawrence King was gunned down in class—in front of up to 30 students—the murder trial of his former classmate and accused killer Brandon McInerney begins today in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley.
Prosecutor Maeve Fox says she will outline a straightforward case in opening arguments set to begin Tuesday in a Chatsworth courtroom. The Oxnard teenager carefully planned and carried out the Feb. 12, 2008, execution of his eighth-grade classmate, she said. He brought a gun to school, positioned himself directly behind King during a morning computer class and fired twice into the back of the 15-year-old's head.
McInerney then dropped the gun and walked out the door in front of two dozen horrified classmates and a teacher, Fox says.
Prosecutors have added a hate-crime allegation, arguing that McInerney's actions were spurred in part by a hatred of gays, in line with his alleged neo-Nazi sympathies. If convicted, he faces 53 years to life. McInerney is being tried in adult court under the provisions of Proposition 21, which allows prosecutors to bring murder charges against juveniles as young as 14 for certain serious crimes.
The defense will argue for voluntary manslaughter, claiming that McInerney was only 14-years-old, immature, from a troubled home ... and provoked. The AP outlines the defense case:
The day before the shooting, one of McInerney's friends told authorities that Larry uttered the words "I love you" as he passed McInerney in a hallway, according to court documents filed by prosecutors.
The friend said McInerney told him he was "going to get a gun and shoot (Larry)," according to court papers. One of Larry's friends claimed McInerney told her, "Say goodbye to your friend Larry, because you're never going to see him again."
McInerney has pleaded not guilty to murder, lying in wait and a hate crime. Defense lawyer Scott Wippert ... told the Ventura County Star, that Larry sexually harassed McInerney and the shooting was committed in the heat of the moment.
Larry, who told some people he was gay, lived at a center for abused and neglected children in the months before his death. Girls used him as a pawn to clear a table of boys at lunch, according to prosecutors. When Larry asked to sit with them, the boys got up and sometimes called him derogatory names.
King was biracial, openly gay and sometimes wore makeup and dresses to school. The defense has portrayed King as sexually aggressive. The theory was first advanced by Newsweek in a disturbing cover story—describing the 4-foot-11 Lawrence King as sexually harassing his male classmates.
Rod 2.0's complete coverage on Lawrence King HERE.