McInerney trial day one

Timothy Kincaid

July 5th, 2011

The LA Times coverage of the first day of trial is significantly better than the article of this morning. Catherine Saillant attributed the positions of the prosecutor and the defense and only made statement of fact on such matters are are undisputed.

Prosecution is laying out the case that the ongoing fued between Lawrence King and his killer, Brandon McInerney, escalated in part by King’s growing self-confidence.

King was bullied by McInerney and other boys at the school, Deputy Dist. Atty. Maeve Fox said in her opening statement in the trial, which is being conducted at a courthouse in Chatsworth. But shortly before his death, King had begun wearing high heels, makeup and earrings to school and had become more confident in himself, she said.

“Larry King for the first time in his life wasn’t taking it anymore,” Fox said. “And he started to give people what I prefer to call the proverbial chin. Only it was more profane. The proverbial ‘f … you.'”

She will also present evidence that King’s murder was premeditated.

CNN provides additional details of the opening statements:

After the first shot, King fell to the ground, and McInerney allegedly stood over him and shot again, Frawley said. [I doubt that Frawley said “allegedly”]

“It was a coup de grace shot,” Frawley said of the second shot.

“There were no words exchanged. He just pulled out the gun and did it,” Frawley told CNN Tuesday. “The victim didn’t even see it coming.”

Both shots were at point-blank range, Frawley said.

The defense will, as expected, use gay panic to accuse King of being responsible for his own death. McInerney was a helpless and humiliated victim of the sinister homosexual (cue spooky music and weird lighting).

McInerney’s lawyer, Scott Wippert, argued that King — and not his client — was the aggressor. He said King targeted McInerney for sexual harassment, making flirtatious remarks, and had humiliated him.


July 6th, 2011

And why isn’t this gay panic defense being banished from the court room?

That flirting with someone is labeled “sexual harassment” and much more so precipitating a bullet to the head is just specious.


July 6th, 2011

There is a problem with raising the issue of “gay panic” since the victim here had a history of sexually harassing other boys. This included taunting them about their bodies, making lewd references, threatening boys by accusing them of being gay, and also in the case of the accused, behavior verging on stalking. This was well documented even by the school staff. When asked why he did so by school staff, the victim said he loved to get a kick out of it. These are in fact considerations for what degree of murder the jury will settle on. It’s a forgone conclusion that the accused will be convicted of some charge.

This isn’t exactly the perfect case. I see it as a complete failure on all sides, the kids, school, and parents, involving murder, homophobia, and also sexual harassment.


July 6th, 2011

Do you think a lesbian would be allowed to use the “gay panic” defense if she shot a man who came on to her? Why is any court permitting MEN to use this so-called defense when another man makes advances? Murder seems to be an over-reaction under the circumstances. A simple “No, thank you” ought to be sufficient.

Scott L.

July 6th, 2011

Well, Nick, it’s also well documented that Lawrence had been bullied for YEARS! And all of his “actions” were VERBAL! IF he had grabbed one of his tormentors by the genitals then maybe, MAYBE, a good right to the jaw would’ve been called for, but NOT being MURDERED!

Richard Rush

July 6th, 2011

If women typically responded to unwelcome male advances the way some men feel justified in responding to unwelcome male advances, the earth would be littered with millions and millions of severely injured and murdered men. And then I suppose the “straight panic” defense would be commonplace.

Timothy Kincaid

July 6th, 2011


I’ve followed this story closely and have heard no evidence of “taunting them about their bodies, making lewd references, threatening boys by accusing them of being gay, and also in the case of the accused, behavior verging on stalking.”

So you’ll forgive me if I doubt your motivations.


July 7th, 2011

July 6th, 2011

And why isn’t this gay panic defense being banished from the court room?

Because it is a defense that has been all too effective in the past. Not in vindicating the defendant, but in reducing his sentence. It generally stopped being used because of hate crimes laws. To use this defense, the defendant would have to admit to committing a hate crime, which would erase any gain of being convicted of a lessor offense.

I suspect, that since the prosecutor already decided to charge McInerney with a hate crime, the defense figured it has nothing to lose by using the gay panic defense.


July 7th, 2011

Timothy Kincaid
July 6th, 2011

I’ve followed this story closely and have heard no evidence of “taunting them about their bodies, making lewd references, threatening boys by accusing them of being gay, and also in the case of the accused, behavior verging on stalking.”

then I suggest you re-read the newsweek article you cited a little more closely Timothy. ex.:

(page 4)

In the locker room, where he was often ridiculed, he got even by telling the boys, “You look hot,” while they were changing, according to the mother of a student.

(page 5)

One teacher asked him why he taunted the boys in the halls, and Larry replied, “It’s fun to watch them squirm.” But Brandon McInerney was different. Larry really liked Brandon. One student remembered that Larry would often walk up close to Brandon and stare at him. Larry had studied Brandon so well, he once knew when he had a scratch on his arm—Larry even claimed that he had given it to Brandon by mistake, when the two were together.

While this article may not constitute “well documented” it does indicate Lawrence’s behaviour had become antagonistic.

Timothy Kincaid

July 7th, 2011


I’m sorry. I should have clarified that other than Setoodeh’s repeating of the defense claims I found no such evidence. By now I’m sure that you know that I consider Setoodeh to be a nincompoop and his Newsweek tale to be faulty to the point of dismissal.

Nevertheless, even if one were to accept Setoodeh’s character assassination as accurate, within the examples you listed I see no “taunting them about their bodies” (unless you include ‘you look hot’), “lewd references”, “threatening boys by accusing them of being gay”, or “behavior verging on stalking”.

King’s behavior was not faultless. In fact, he probably would have annoyed the hell out of me. But smearing him in this way is neither right not honorable.

[Please, in the future, use a valid email address. We will not publish or share your email address, but it is a condition of commenting at BTB]

Timothy Kincaid

July 7th, 2011


And why isn’t this gay panic defense being banished from the court room?

That is a very good question. In 2006, the California legislature passed, and Schwarzenegger signed, AB 1160, a bill to address “gay panic” defense. Obviously, for first amendment reasons, it could not banish such a defense. Instead it expressed that such defenses are against the state’s public policy and gave the following (weak) resolution:

1127h. In any criminal trial or proceeding, upon the request of a
party, the court shall instruct the jury substantially as follows:
“Do not let bias, sympathy, prejudice, or public opinion influence
your decision. Bias includes bias against the victim or victims,
witnesses, or defendant based upon his or her disability, gender,
nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, gender identity, or sexual

That in itself isn’t much. But the prosecutor can, in closing statements, explain what a ‘gay panic defense’ is, explain that the defense is trying to appeal to what he assumes is their anti-gay prejudice in order to justify murder, and read the legislature’s position, including:

It is against public policy for a defendant to be acquitted of
a charged offense or convicted of a lesser included offense based
upon an appeal to the societal bias that may be possessed by members
of a jury.

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