Posted by: Catherine Lugg | December 20, 2011

Brandon McInerney sentenced to 21 years in prison for killing gay student Larry King

On February 12, 2008, McInerney shot King in the back of the head in a computer class that they were both taking at E.O. Green Junior High School, in Oxnard, California. At the time, McInerney was 14 and King 15, although King was much smaller and proudly queer. McInerney was living in a home filled with white supremacist literature and guns.

In the first trial, King was accused of sexually harassing McInerney, which supposedly drove McInerney to murder King. It was an updated version of the infamous “gay panic” defense. But the first trial, where McInerney was being tried as an adult for 1st degree murder, and a  hate crime, ended in a mistrial. Before the second trial could commence, McInerney pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter and using a gun in the commission of a crime.

I’m not sure this is justice. Surely, the claims against King, that he sexual harassed McInerney, will forever go unchallenged. And this story will remain unbearably tragic, from the murder of King, to the subsequent homophobic defense, to King’s parents non-support of Larry and his queer identity (He was living in foster care at the time of his murder).


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