Bullying | California | Crime | Lawrence King | News

Lawrence King's Killer Brandon McInerney to be Tried as Adult

Ventura County Superior Court Judge Douglas Daily ruled yesterday that Brandon McInerney, the 14-year-old who shot and killed his classmate Lawrence King at school in February and was charged with first-degree murder and a hate crime, can be tried as an adult. Said Daily: "I cannot say that this is unconstitutional."

KingmcinerneyAccording to the Ventura County Star, "Before making his ruling, Daily heard legal arguments for about 30 minutes from McInerney's lawyer, William 'Willy' Quest, and from a prosecutor, Senior Deputy District Attorney Maeve Fox, on whether the teen can be tried in adult court rather than juvenile court. In 2000, California voters approved Proposition 21, which widened prosecutors' authority to file charges in adult court against juveniles 14 and older without having to go to a judge. Before he made his findings, the judge called for a 20-minute break to go back to his chambers to read the California Supreme Court cases cited by Quest and Fox in their legal petitions."

Quest, as well as a coalition of gay groups including Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Transgender Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, Equality California, Gay Straight Alliance Network, Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, had urged the court to try McInerney as a juvenile.

McInerney's arraignment is now scheduled for August 7.

More from the County Star on the arguments heard in court.

King_2Meanwhile, folks are rightly still outraged about the Newsweek cover story on the King murder published this week.

Writes Sara Whitman in the Huffington Post: "Read the article and you'll be informed that in fact, Larry was the problem. He was always the problem. And while kids are experimenting with sexuality at younger and younger ages overall, being gay is dangerous. Heterosexual play is fine but, 'Kids may want to express who they are, but they are playing grown-up without fully knowing what that means.' What does that mean? The article is one of the poorest forms of journalism I've ever read. If it is an Opinion piece, okay, but to write 'Even as homosexuality has become more accepted, the prospect of being openly gay in middle school raises a troubling set of issues' and to state it as fact?"

You may remember a similarly horrible piece published in Time shortly after the killing which suggested that gay groups exaggerate the amount of bullying made against kids because of their sexual orientation in order to make the situation sound more dire and drum up the need for legislation.

For all our Lawrence King coverage, click HERE.

McInerney Lawyer Promises Not to 'Gay Bash' in Lawrence King Case [tr]
Arraignment of Teen who Killed Lawrence King Postponed [tr]
Attorney for Lawrence King's Killer Faults School for Shooting [tr]

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. Time and Newsweek take every opportunity to make homophobia seem like a natural reaction to something that is wrong. I hate that the mainstream media in the USA permits this kind of crap. In the end a CHILD was brutally murdered for being himself. I think rational people around the world are horrified and disgusted.

    Posted by: CCH | Jul 25, 2008 9:07:43 AM

  2. I can't take any upset over the Newsweek story seriously if it's coming from any of the gay advocates who argued that the killer should NOT be tried as an adult. Pick which side you're on and stay there.

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | Jul 25, 2008 9:23:02 AM

  3. What happened to Lawrence King is truly a terrible crime but a 14 year old is not an adult.

    Posted by: Giovanni | Jul 25, 2008 9:24:35 AM

  4. The kid needs to be in therapy not prison.

    Posted by: daveynyc | Jul 25, 2008 9:31:26 AM

  5. As a Gay manI agree - this kid should NOT be seen as an adult when it comes to his Trial...He should be placed in a Mental facility til the age of 21...then from 21 to 25,he should be made to work Supervised ommunity Services with Charitys that HELP the Under-Privilaged,LGBT people, people with AIDS,Homeless,etc....and at 25..should be reviewed for supervised Probational release...then made to come before the Court and Sate what he has learned! Throwing him in jila the rest of his life is USELESS!

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Jul 25, 2008 9:41:00 AM

  6. As a Gay man I agree - this kid should NOT be seen as an adult when it comes to his Trial...He should be placed in a Mental facility til the age of 21...then from 21 to 25,he should be made to work Supervised Community Services with Charitys that HELP the Under-Privilaged,LGBT people, people with AIDS,Homeless,etc....and at 25..should be reviewed for "Supervised Probational" Release...then made to come before the Court and Sate what he has learned! Throwing him in jail the rest of his life is USELESS!

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Jul 25, 2008 9:47:03 AM

  7. Therapy will not cure a sociopath.
    Therapy will not keep that murderer separate from civilians.
    Therapy will not reduce the cold-blooded nature of the crime.
    Therapy will not bring back Lawrence King.

    If someone is hateful enough to react hostilely to expressed affection, belligerent enough to smuggle a loaded gun into a school full of teenagers, reckless enough to fire that gun within a few feet of two dozen other people, and callous enough to terminate a human life at point-blank range in front of his friends and classmates ... that someone is adult enough to be tried like one.

    Posted by: sparks | Jul 25, 2008 9:52:03 AM

  8. .
    Good, it's just what he deserves.

    At fourteen you know a gun is not a plaything. And you also know what you're going to do with the gun when you plan and strategize about how to sneak it into school and then into the classroom.

    I'll be really pissed if they DON'T seek the death penalty for special circumstances.

    Posted by: David B. | Jul 25, 2008 9:57:29 AM

  9. Yes, and sending this kid to prison will what - make him an embittered, career criminal by the time he gets out? Oh the wonderful, law-abiding things he'll learn behind bars...
    A 14 year old does not understand the consequences of his actions. Yes, this kid must have been raised with a real messed up world view to carry out something like this (and should be appropriately separated from mainstream society and undergo intense treatment), but at that age horomones, peer pressure, and parental influence are all acting in ways that can really distort a kid's reality.

    Posted by: scientitian | Jul 25, 2008 10:02:52 AM

  10. He should NEVER get out! He should NEVER be allowed access to civilization EVER AGAIN!!

    The "Newsweek" story reads like "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." The message is clear: dress and act "like a girl" and you deserve to be shot twice at point blank range in the back of the head.


    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jul 25, 2008 10:10:12 AM

  11. David, I believe GLAAD is busy handing out an award to some mediocre network TV show for giving a gay character two lines of dialogue.

    Posted by: jeff | Jul 25, 2008 10:20:34 AM

  12. The person that owned the gun that the kid used, should be in prison. The gun should not have been accessable to him in the first place!

    Posted by: SONNIE | Jul 25, 2008 10:57:39 AM

  13. I support the decision. If you did an adult act such as killing an individual then you deserve adult punishments.

    Brandon made Lawrence King's life useless, he deserves to live a useless life. Maybe we need to have modern and appropriate sexual harassment training to prevent future tragedies.

    Posted by: Matt from California | Jul 25, 2008 11:05:07 AM

  14. That's accessible, forgive the misspelling.

    Posted by: SONNIE | Jul 25, 2008 11:06:18 AM

  15. Actually, most of the articles in Time and Newsweek are horrible, not just this one. I gave up reading them years ago. Opinions masquerading as facts is hardly a problem only in coverage of gay issues.

    Posted by: anon | Jul 25, 2008 11:53:58 AM

  16. I fully and completely agree with the ACLU and the coalition of various gay political organizations who petitioned the court to try Brandon McInerney as a juvenile.

    I am more concerned with the parenting McInerney has received and the accessibility to a handgun these parents provided their juvenile son in the brutal murder of Lawrence King. The extent of hatred to this fatal extreme is a learned response.

    Posted by: Laurence Ballard | Jul 25, 2008 12:05:33 PM

  17. When Andy first told us about the murder I wanted Brandon McInerney hung. For having that attitude I was chastised by some of my favorite people on Towleroad. I backed down. Now, the state has decided McInerney should be tried as an adult. Well, so be it. . I don't care how they bring McInerney to trial. When I look at the pictures of Larry King his eyes look so frightened--frightened as a little boy and as a teenager. It's all just so very sad.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jul 25, 2008 12:26:37 PM

  18. You commit an adult crime, you get treated like an adult. 14 is plenty old enough to know better. He should be in prison the rest of his miserable little life.

    Posted by: Bobby | Jul 25, 2008 12:28:13 PM

  19. Anyone who thinks a 14-year old should be tried as an adult understands *nothing* about adolescent development. Awful.

    Posted by: Jordan | Jul 25, 2008 12:49:44 PM

  20. As an instructor (albeit a professor at a college) I know that an 18-year old is legally "old enough to know better." But 'should,' 'could,' 'would,' and 'is' are direct factors of parenting. When those legally responsible 18-year olds (and I have absolutely no problem holding their feet to the fire of the text and spirit of the law) have parents with the emotional skills of teenagers, I'm not surprised when their children are developmentally retarded. I shudder to think what 14-year old Brandon McInerney learned at the dinner table when he complained to his parents about sexualized behavior from another student. Trying him as an adult will teach him nothing; placing him "in prison the rest of his miserable little life" serves no rationally compelling purpose. As homosexual men and women, we suffer from sufficient Old Testament justice and justifications from heterosexual society. We do not need to add to this misery.

    Posted by: Laurence Ballard | Jul 25, 2008 1:09:35 PM

  21. But Laurence Ballard and Jordan, all these years taking the high road and allowing heterosexuals to run over us, excuse me, PAVE over us and our rights, it's long past time we stood up and fought back. Crimes against homosexuals are increasing daily. Parts of the religious communities and the government wants to ban us from adopting children, fostering children and marrying each other, and you people still think taking the high road is the best plan. Well, you have fun under the pavement, I'll be the one fighting back for me and for you.

    Posted by: Bobby | Jul 25, 2008 1:29:40 PM

  22. Go on and fight back, Bobby. Just realize that trying a juvenile -- particularly one in the stage of adolescent development that is most volatile -- as an adult doesn't exactly qualify.

    Posted by: Jordan | Jul 25, 2008 2:06:08 PM

  23. One needs to learn the difference between specifics and generalities. The precipitating event here is a discussion regarding a juvenile being tried as an adult--specifically, a 14-year old boy. It has nothing to do with with asphalt and sublimation. Unless you're like me, in your mid-fifties, I'll wager I've spent more time and fought in more battles for the rights of homosexuals than a good many here. The suggestion that no one is standing up and fighting back against heterosexual bigotry unless this adolescent is tried as an adult in court, would be insulting, if it wasn't so hysterical.

    Misplaced and misdirected anger against a 14-year old murderer is not the standard by which we fight. Neither is it passive and effete to say so. Further, it will do nothing to end the crimes, the legislation, the detestation directed toward us by certain religious communities and governments and individuals.

    Posted by: Laurence Ballard | Jul 25, 2008 2:18:30 PM

  24. I am surprised by all the folks here who argue that imprisoning McInerney "achieves nothing," that it will make him an "embittered, career criminal," and that factors regarding "adolescent development" mean he should be held to a different standard of justice than an adult.

    People talk a lot about how the justice system should protect society and rehabilitate criminals - that's fine by me, but only if the priority of actual justice comes *before* rehabilitation and protecting society. For example, a killer who is subsequently paralyzed from the neck down (no longer a threat to society) should still go to prison for his murdering his victim. Why? Because he deserves to be *punished* for what he has done, even if he can never hurt anyone again. Whether he becomes embittered is irrelevant, and whether society is made safer is irrelevant. The whole reason statues of "Justice" are shown as blindfolded exemplifies this belief: justice is about the individual, and justice is always degraded and cheapened when it becomes interested about making life easier or safer or more comfortable for society.

    And it's not just for punitive justice that this standard applies - in terms of civil liberties, we all have heard this argument: "but if we give you rights there will be riots and society will collapse!" The correct answer to that concern is - "so what?" If society wants to destroy itself because justice grants black people equal rights, that is society's choice - justice should still be done anyway. If Mcinerney chooses to become bitter and violent because justice demands that he be punished for what he has done, that is unfortunate - but justice should still be done anyway.

    That brings up the next question - is MCinerney's punishment just, especially considering his young age? Well, for many crimes we hold younger people to a different standard because we consider them to have different levels of insight and comprehension and self-control when compared to adults. This standard is based on one thing: how do other children of the same age generally behave? What level of insight do kids that age have when it comes to right and wrong? I would venture to say that most teenagers do some pretty obnoxious and unethical stuff - stealing cash from grandma's purse, vandalizing mailboxes, shoplifting, etc. etc. However, very few teenagers carry a gun to school, walk up to someone and shoot them in the head, and then flee. McInerney's behavior certainly seems to cross the line in terms of standard "adolescent development." His actions show premeditation (bringing the gun to school) and a knowledge of wrongdoing (running away) that is way beyond the pale for standard teenage behavior. Most 14-year-olds never do anything like this. Unless Mcinerney has some mental deficiency that makes him unable to tell right from wrong, I see no reason why he isn't just as guilty as the 20-year-old who's had a tough life who stabs his girlfriend to death in a fit of passion. There is insight, there is deliberate intent to kill, and there is a victim who posed no physical threat to him.

    Posted by: Yeek | Jul 25, 2008 2:29:07 PM

  25. There is a demonstrated difference between justice and revenge. Equity and punishment. Our justice system is designed for retributive justice. And when there is a menace to the common good, the common safety, society needs to incapacitate serious, felonious, threats--which is not the same as punishment. The concept of punishment as a pathway to offender rehabilitation was abandoned a generation ago and is no longer held within our criminal justice system, moreover punishment does not help the victims. If anything, within our system, governmental punishment focuses on the rights of the offenders. As it will in the case of The State of California vs. Brandon McInerney. If anything, the wrong McInerney will be on trial.

    Posted by: Laurence Ballard | Jul 25, 2008 3:30:20 PM

Post a comment


« «Qantas 747 Makes Emergency Landing in Manila with Gaping Hole« «