Will prosecutors retry Brandon McInerney on first degree murder charges for shooting his gay classmate Lawrence King in 2008? Or will they take a different strategy after last night's shocking mistrial verdict? The 17-year-old shooter's fate remains uncertain for several weeks, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Jurors deadlocked 7 to 5 in favor of voluntary manslaughter in the emotional two-month trial in the case of the stunning 2008 shooting inside an Oxnard classroom. Defense attorney Scott Wippert said McInerney was disappointed by the mistrial because his fate was left hanging. Prosecutors probably won't announce until next month whether they will try the 17-year-old a second time, and whether he again will be tried as an adult.
McInerney sat stiffly and silently at the defense table as Ventura County Judge Charles Campbell declared a mistrial. His mother, Kendra McInerney, sobbed into her hands. The parents of victim Larry King, Greg and Dawn King, stormed from the courtroom with other relatives, even as the judge was still addressing the jurors.
But jurors universally rejected the prosecution's contention that the shooting was a hate crime carried out by a youth filled with white supremacist beliefs and a hatred for homosexuals, Wippert said. He said jurors told him that it had been an emotionally raw and gut-wrenching case and that, in the end, they couldn't agree on a conviction.
McInerney shot his 15-year-old gay classmate Lawrence King twice in the head at point-blank range in an Oxnard classroom in February 2008. More than 30 students witnessed the shooting. McInerney was 14-years-old at the time.
Witnesses have testified that King's "feminine attire" and gender identity was upsetting some students and faculty at E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard. The defense has portrayed King as sexually "aggressive" and suggested that McInerney was "provoked."
McInerney was tried as an adult for the murder. Jurors were allowed to consider first-degree, second-degree and manslaughter charges. McInerney faced up to 53 years to life in prison if convicted of first degree murder.