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Larry King’s Killer Pleads Guilty In Exchange for 21 Year Prison Term

Jim Burroway

November 22nd, 2011

Brandon McInerney (left), Lawrence King (right)

Brandon McInerney, who was a fourteen-year-old Oxnard Middle School student when he shot Larry King in school at point blank range in 2008, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and the use of a fire arm in a plea deal which will result in a 21 year prison term in addition to time served. Under the terms of his plea deal, McInerney, who is now 17, will be released shortly before his 39th birthday. McInerney will be formally sentenced on December 19.

McInerney’s plea deal comes after a mistrial was declared in his first trial after jurors were unable to reach a verdict. They had deadlocked at 7 to 5 in favor of finding McInerney guilty of voluntary manslaughter, with the five holding out for either second or first degree murder.

The Gay and Lesbian Education Network’s Executive Director Eliza Byard applauded the plea deal:

“The plea deal announced today ends a tragic chapter in Ventura County. Holding Brandon McInerney accountable for his actions is necessary and right, but putting him behind bars does not solve the problems that led a boy to become a bully, and then a murderer. Homophobia and transphobia, compounded by the lack of counseling and other supports for struggling young people, resulted in Larry King’s death and the effective end of Brandon McInerney’s life. As adults and as a society, we must find the resolve to fix the broken systems that lost two young lives to hate and fear.

I echo Byard’s sentiments. I’ve always felt very uncomfortable with sending a fourteen-year-old to prison for the rest of his life. This, I think, strikes the right balance.

Comments

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Lucrece
November 22nd, 2011 | LINK

That Brandon was able to bully Larry for so long that it led to Larry’s flirtatious retaliations should be investigated, and those teachers and administration staff that failed to intervene should suffer consequences.

The people who aided and abetted Brandon’s venom are getting off easy.

Andrew
November 22nd, 2011 | LINK

The problem is, the whole thing won’t do anything for Brandon either. 21 years (which will get shortened) in prison, what will that do to a kid? Don’t get me wrong, the crime is horrible and something had to be done, but has anything changed aside from two lives lost?

Ugh, sickness makes me be emotional. Blah.

customartist
November 22nd, 2011 | LINK

There is no winner.

Unfortunately for future potential victims, attackers, and their families, this lesson will not make it into the Straight News Reports.

Priya Lynn
November 22nd, 2011 | LINK

“Homophobia and transphobia, compounded by the lack of counseling and other supports for struggling young people, resulted in Larry King’s death and the effective end of Brandon McInerney’s life.”.

Its pretty dumb to suggest this is the “end” of McInerney’s life. Life doesn’t end at 39 (barring actual death). For me life began at 45 and I’m having a whale of a time.

I had hoped for 25 years with no parole for McInerney, this comes close, assuming he actually does the full 21 years, if he doesn’t it’ll be an injustice.

Timothy Kincaid
November 22nd, 2011 | LINK

Ah yes, McInerney didn’t load a gun, put it in his backpack, go to school, sit behind Larry King, pull out the gun, shoot Larry in the back of the head, watch him fall, and put a second bullet in Larry’s brain as he lay on the floor. The System did it.

In this case, there is some truth to blaming The System. He truly had no one to give him structure and care-based correction. But, then again, other students in similar families didn’t choose to execute their gay classmates.

And, in my observation, when The System takes the blame nothing happens, nothing changes. The System keeps plugging along in it’s same old crappy way.

Well at least McIrney will be behind bars for a couple of years before he gets out to lead a life of crime and terrorize those around him. As we all know that he will.

And why shouldn’t he? It’s not his fault. The System failed him.

Others should just be careful that when he’s out in six years that The System doesn’t put anyone you love in his path.

Priya Lynn
November 22nd, 2011 | LINK

“Others should just be careful that when he’s out in six years…”.

Please tell me that’s not a realistic possibility.

Blake
November 22nd, 2011 | LINK

I agree that this strikes the right balance; I hate that that balance was only achieved after the defense showed the power the ‘gay-panic defense’ still holds on jurors. It is truly offensive, given the facts of the case, that the majority of the jury wanted to opt for manslaughter.

Andrew
November 22nd, 2011 | LINK

Prisons in America don’t help people. They are simply a form of retribution. My point is that a 17 year old is probably the kind of person who should get rehabilitation instead of revenge.

Timothy, okay so you can’t blame “The System” because the system won’t change. Blaming the person doesn’t change the crime or keep someone else from doing it. So where do you go from here? Think prison will make him into a less violent person?

Priya, not saying life ends at 39, but I think 20 some years in prison during your teens and twenties will probably be a rather formative experience.

Priya Lynn
November 22nd, 2011 | LINK

“Priya, not saying life ends at 39, but I think 20 some years in prison during your teens and twenties will probably be a rather formative experience.”.

I would hope so.

tavdy79
November 22nd, 2011 | LINK

Its pretty dumb to suggest this is the “end” of McInerney’s life. Life doesn’t end at 39 (barring actual death). For me life began at 45 and I’m having a whale of a time.

–Priya Lynn

I greatly doubt you have a criminal conviction though. Even a relatively minor one can cause serious problems, and McInerney’s is a very high-profile case and a very serious crime. Having a serious criminal conviction like that makes it difficult, if not impossible, to find work and housing, so he’s likely to spend most of his “life” post-release on the streets.

It doesn’t really matter if McInerney got twenty years or eighty – his life is screwed either way.

Regan DuCasse
November 22nd, 2011 | LINK

Andrew, I hate to break it to you, but prisons aren’t supposed to HELP anyone!

You have to understand that there are people who are truly without any feelings for another. All they know is their own selfishness, anger, disaffection. Prisons are full of people who had more choices than many, actually.
If you read how some of the media report on LARRY, you’d think HE was the bully and BM’s response to him was somewhat JUSTIFIED.

But read between the lines, as those who are gay, or are allies like myself can see, and the reporting and the comments that it generates, points continuously to LARRY as someone who required restraint from being ‘sexually aggressive’. Giving credibility to every stereotype believed about gay males.

Brian McInerny had a long rep as an aggressor to other kids besides Larry. He’d been raised in a white supremacist abusive situation himself. He’d witnessed domestic violence and had access to firearms he knew how to use. Obviously had been taught how to use them.
In too many lame brains, it was LARRY who needed to be counseled, and taught restraint.
Unbelievably stupid and obviously dangerous thinking.

I have had more close encounters with the RESULTS of what people like Brian M do.
These days, the average television show and video game features very graphic violence and it’s results. It’s not like McInerny didn’t know what would happen to Larry’s head from two bullets pumped into it at close range.
He was just waiting and planning for his chance at it.
Prison is full of people who HAVE no feelings for anyone. Their choices require an amount of selfishness and anger and aggression most of us don’t act on. Even if there are fantasies after someone has wronged us.

As you should know, young people are TAUGHT to be extremely offended at the mere PRESENCE of a gay person. There is no act a gay person has to do to provoke violence.
Larry didn’t have to do anything but be outgoing.
He sassed BM back.
Most importantly, BM was a much bigger boy to LK’s slight build.
BM was notorious for fighting.
LK was not.

Once BM’s behavior was known, HE should have been expelled. Period.
That any discussion runs to LK having some PATTERN of aggressive behavior is so contradictory to the actual events, it’s like the insanity to CREATE a homosexual predator from a smallish, delicate and effeminate boy is more important than the violent tendencies of the other boy who killed him.

To a normal person there MUST be some reason for a kid to blow another kid’s head off with such cold precision.
And the reason given, is LK’s supposed ‘aggressive sexual advances’.

A long look, a hug of another male, wearing op gender accessories, talking back, showing up: the anti gay are so offended and paranoid, an innocuous act is characterized and reported as ‘aggressive homosexual behavior’.
I know it.
Most of our friends here know it.

I know it even better because one of Larry’s counselors from his group home knew him for a year, and she’s outraged that LK is reported as the aggressor who went to school in full drag.
THAT is not how he was, nor how he went to school day to day.
HE was the one that lived in fear of BM, and his fears were not unfounded as it turns out.
Had LK been the one who brought a weapon and killed the bully, would he have been believed as the VICTIM of an aggressor?

Almost every week for over a year we’ve seen stories of gay children being bullied to death.
LK’s situation was a murder, instead of his suicide. Yet, he’s reported as the aggressor. How does THAT even make sense except in the minds of those who believe stereotypes?

As I said, I witness the results of the utmost depravity, indifference, recklessness, cruelty and selfishness possible.
And those responsible are NOT punished enough and the public thinks there is some kernel of redemption that can be had in such people.
It’s an unrealistic dream.
You really don’t WANT them paroled, or set free. Or especially even allowed to live.
That kind of compassion is wasted on them, and enables further bad deeds.

I think I’m the only one here who works with the police.
Always, first and foremost, think of the person who is in the grave. Silent and without the capacity to defend themselves.
THAT is with whom our concerns must ALWAYS lie. Their death shouldn’t mean forgotten.
But WHY they are dead in the first place.

Ben In Oakland
November 22nd, 2011 | LINK

Regan, you wrote;

“Andrew, I hate to break it to you, but prisons aren’t supposed to HELP anyone!”

It has been a long time since I was in Law enforcement, but I believe that BY LAW in California, the purpose of prison is NOT rehabilitation, but punishment and retribution..

I have very mixed feelings about this. One boy was brutally murdered and unfairly labeled the agressor. Another boy is going to spend his youth and young manhood in prison, being the symbolic sacrificial lamb for the sins of society. (And how can a bible believing Christian not get a kick out of that?) .

Two young lives wasted, two more lives sacrificed on the altar of entrenched homophobia.

Assuming BM even survives his years in prison, when he comes out, I doubt sincerely that he will meld back into society. And then we have another little ticking bomb loose. and none of it brings larry back.

So, sadly, timothy is right. The system takes the blame, and nothing changes.

Hue-Man
November 22nd, 2011 | LINK

KTLA’s second story last night (after the Macy’s smash and grab, of course). They reported: juvie until he’s 18 then prison without time for good behavior or time served. Their focus, however, seemed to be the traumatized teacher who witnessed the assassination in her classroom and who hasn’t been able to work since. I know she’s a victim but surely there must be at least one gay/lesbian person in CA who could have expressed the outrage and sickness we all feel at this cold-blooded pre-meditated murder!

Timothy Kincaid
November 22nd, 2011 | LINK

Andrew,

I don’t know where we go from here. Sometimes I think that none of us have a clue what to do when situations like this arise.

I agree that “correctional facilities” are seldom correctional. McInerney is going to come out hardened and more violent. And his white supremacy dabblings are going to turn into full fledged established and committed racist activism in prison.

And yes, they are primarily punishment. But I’m very okay with punishment. Call it retribution, call it revenge, I’m cool with that. It is. But it is also just and fair and right.

And while blaming the person doesn’t go back and prevent the crime, it does announce to the world (and the criminal) that he is to blame. Him. Not his teachers, not his school, not his society, not God or godlessness, not generic and amorphous forces out there in the wide wide world, but he himself was the one who made a choice and he is the one who owns the blame.

A lot of the basis behind “I’m not to blame”, whether in a murder case or in an act of simple rudeness (“I was just frustrated at the traffic”) is based in a desire to do what one knows one should not do, but not to have the natural consequences of that action. I think it is generally counter-productive when a society detached consequences from actions.

You say that punishment doesn’t “keep someone else from doing it”. I disagree. Of course it does, every day, in every life, in grand and small ways punishment keeps you and I and everyone else from “doing it”, whatever it may be.

There are things that I don’t do that I want to do but for which the consequences are too high. Not murder, but things like texting while in traffic. But the cost is expensive if I’m caught.

Or being rude and dismissive to an annoying waiter. But if I am, I lose the respect of friends and don’t get invited to go to dinner. The cost is too high.

And while it is mostly my sense of morality, ethics, etc. that keeps me from murdering someone, the shame of being known as a murderer along with the consequence of being incarcerated definitely contributes.

But if I can convince the LAPD and my friends that society is to blame for my texting and rudeness, then I’m off scot-free. And the waiter gets to have another jerk for a customer and I endanger traffic all without any cost to me. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll think that someone is so undeserving of life and that I have no moral qualms about ending the life of such a vile person, I can convince a jury that I shouldn’t have to pay consequences. Because society is the one to blame.

Obviously there are exceptions and this isn’t some hard and fast rule. But I’m resistant to the concept that because we have to some extent failed in our own obligations as members of society to correct the injustices in Brandon McInerney’s life that therefore he shouldn’t be held accountable, that he shouldn’t be punished.

I guess I’d find it less annoying if those who blame society accepted their own role. If someone came forward and said, “Society is to blame and as a part of society I’ll serve his sentence for him” then I might give the idea greater credence. But, to my way of thinking, those who say “everyone is to blame” really mean “no one is to blame”.

But, again, I don’t know the solution.

Paul Douglas
November 22nd, 2011 | LINK

Excellent commentary Timothy.

AlexH
November 22nd, 2011 | LINK

There’s no clear winners here.

Timothy makes an excellent point.

It’s too bad because McInerney will do half that sentence, minus the time he’s already done. He will become a harden criminal. People don’t go to jail and get rehabilitated; they go in and come out worse than what they went in as.

Unless he becomes the exception to the rule, but that won’t happen unless someone really intervenes and reaches him on his behalf and I don’t see that happening.

He’ll be turned out (raped), as well, if that hasn’t already happened.

I still believe that those who commit these types of crimes are struggling with homosexuality themselves, which makes them view it with such hatred and then they lash out. Otherwise why take it to this level?

Stephen
November 22nd, 2011 | LINK

If he can’t vote, can’t drink, can’t legally own a gun, can’t make a contract (so how can he agree to a plea deal?), can’t marry, etc, how can the savagery with which he’s been treated be a good thing? Of course he should be in some kind of rehabilitation program not in a prison. Especially not in the squalid horror of an American prison.

‘The right balance’? For a boy who was 14?

I hope that someone with a conscience is trying to help this kid instead of gloating over his misfortune.

Lucrece
November 22nd, 2011 | LINK

It was my impression the plea deal would see no reduced time for good behavior (i.e. parole), so his deal basically consists of 21 assured years in jail over trying him over and over with the possibility that he might then get a first degree murder conviction against him with a lesser biased jury.

So, I don’t see how he’s getting out earlier.

I admit I’m annoyed that his premeditated executionisn’t treated as such — first degree murder.

His life isn’t over, though. He’ll still have a chance at turning things around, can even go into vocational school or his brother/family can hook him up with a job.

That’s not something Larry gets. To say that both suffered an equitably raw deal is insulting. Larry’s death was agonizing, he didn’t die instantly from the shots so he felt the burns of the bullet wounds in his head as he bled to death.

Erin
November 22nd, 2011 | LINK

14 is old enough to know the consequences of pointing a gun to someone’s head and pulling the trigger. He got a much lesser sentence than an adult would have. But that is not enough for folks like Stephen who want us to weep for the poor murderer. Sorry. It was calculated premeditated murder. Such a capacity cannot be rehabilitated out of someone.

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