Seventeen-year-old Brandon McInerney has agreed to a plea deal for the murder of his gay middle school classmate, reports the Ventura County Star. McInerney has agreed to serve 21 years for the execution-style shooting of Lawrence King in 2008.
McInerney will serve 21 years in a mix of youth facilities and prison. McInerney pleaded guilty to second degree murder and voluntary manslaughter with use of weapon during a hearing that capped years of legal jousting and a previous nine-week case that ended in a mistrial when jurors were torn over the juvenile being tried as an adult.
The sentencing was set for Dec. 19. The judge stayed sentencing on the second degree murder trial, meaning the 21-year sentence was for the voluntary manslaughter charge only. He does not get credit for the time he already has served, and he will not get time off for good behavior. The plea spares McInerney going through another trial, where he faced a potential first- degree murder conviction and 50 years in prison.
Prosecutors were prepared to start their retrial and dropped the hate crime charges, adds the Los Angeles Times. In a series of post-trial interviews, a number of jurors took issue with the adult charges. None were convinced it was a hate crime.
Brandon McInerney shot his 15-year-old classmate 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."
Twenty-one years? Well, at least that's an improvement over the 180-day sentence in a recent gay panic cases.
Rod 2.0's complete coverage on Lawrence King HERE.