Defense Calls For Juvenile Trial For Lawrence King’s Killer

BrandonmcinernyThe defense attorney for the confessed killer of openly gay California teen Lawrence King wants the case against his client dismissed and refiled in juvenile court.

Lawyers representing a 14-year-old boy accused of killing a gay classmate want the case dismissed and refiled in juvenile court because they say the district attorney’s process for charging youths is flawed.

Brandon McInerney of Oxnard has been charged as an adult in the Feb. 12 shooting of 15-year-old Larry King at their junior high school. He has pleaded not guilty in the killing, which was charged as a hate crime.

Scott Wippert, a defense attorney for McInerney, said the Ventura County district attorney’s office abused its power by failing to adequately weigh rising tensions between the two boys that came after King declared himself gay and was reportedly overt in his attempts to win McInerney’s romantic affection, and other factors including McInerney’s youth and his difficult upbringing.

"Someone like Brandon, who was barely 14 and had no juvenile record, should have gone before a juvenile judge, who would look at certain factors to determine whether he is suitable for rehabilitation," Wippert said. "But the D.A. is saying, ‘I don’t have to explain myself to anyone.’ That’s too much power. We as a community should be able to make sure what they are doing is right."

A Ventura County Superior Court judge this month rejected Wippert’s argument, a decision Wippert said he would appeal.

Wippert’s argument challenges the Gang Violence and Juvenile Crime Prevention Act, which lowered the age at which adult charges can be filed
from 18 to 14, and gave prosecutors power to decide which cases should be filed in adult court.

Prosecutor Maeve Fox said Wippert’s defense was a last-ditch attempt to derail the murder case.

A pretrial hearing to determine whether the case should move forward is set for Jan. 26.

If convicted, McInerney could face at least 51 years in prison.


  1. mike in manhattan says

    this child may be monster … but he is still a child.

    he should not tried as an adult …. nor should any child.

  2. JerzeeMike says

    This child KNOWINGLY brought a gun to school and MURDERED another human being. He should be tried as an adult for committing and adult crime.

    Whatever life McInerney will have after all this plays out is still more than Lawrence King got. Lawrence King is dead forever, Brandon McInerney will continue to draw breath, will continue to have interaction with his loved ones, he can continue his education on the taxpayer’s dime, and will have access to healthcare while incarcerated. That’s more than Lawrence King ever got, and more than McInerney deserves.

  3. DJ says

    EXACTLY JerzeeMike.Child or not,this snot nose little bastard shot and killed another human being,he should be tried as an ADULT.PERIOD.I dont even understand why there is still debate over this,I assume if he had shot and killed his parents,he would be tried as an adult without question.But since he shot and killed a young gay classmate everyone is willing to debate over it.

  4. Tim says

    Trying this child as an adult seems so much like blaming him for a larger problem, which is to say, blaming him for the homophobia that is obviously rampant in his community, his home life, this country, and the world. How will sending him to prison fix those problems? Will it make him less homophobic to go to one of the most notoriously homophobic places, prison, where homosexual rape has become a joke? I don’t think so. The correct solution here is education about why what he did was wrong, not some witch hunt to punish the symptom of a much larger problem.

  5. Jordan says

    Children, even teenagers, do not possess the same cognitive faculties that “full-fledged” adults do, regardless of their capability to commit the same types of actions. Psychological research has proven this time and time again.

    Some of the previous comments here demonstrate that treating a child as an adult in a court of law is not about the scientific evidence that we ought to do so, but about raw vengeance – and that is not something the JUSTICE system should have anything to do with.

  6. JerzeeMike says

    TIM, Brandon McInerney committed a CRIME. The lesson he would learn from MURDERING someone and being let off with what amounts to a slap on the wrist is that a teenager can get away with anything because, “their minds aren’t developed enough to know what they’re doing is wrong.” BULLSHIT!

    Where’s Lawrence King’s justice? Where’s Lawrence King’s sympathy? When do we stop whipping ourselves to appease straights? Where’s the outrage?

    Brandon McInerney took it upon himself to commit a crime by ending the life of Lawrence King. Societal ills will not be salved by sending this kid to prison for the rest of his life but justice MUST be served when a member of society commits a crime against another. I should think life in prison is preferable to corporal punishment but that’s just me.

  7. noah says

    The killer, the murderer is a child. He had no history of violence prior to this act. He is messed up but he is still a child.

    Science shows us that the brain of a child is inherently incapable of making logical, moral decisions in the same was as adults. Therefore, how can we hold a child up to the same standard as we would an adult?

    If gays wish to use science to support the claims and beliefs that they are born gay, that homosexuality is a result of biology, how can gays toss away science when it is inconvenient?

    What kind of people do we want to be?

  8. says

    Murder is such a painful, awful thing to happen. When I was 13, I lost my cousin to a bullet to the head. Dead. Gone. Horrifying. I wasn’t right for years. I went from an honor roll student to barely passing. I went from relatively content to horribly depressed. It was, by far, the worst thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.

    All that said, Brandon should not be tried as an adult. What Jordan said is true – and verified by years of research and science. Nothing can bring Lawrence back. But locking up Brandon forever won’t bring him back. I wish there was a happy medium, that he’d get out at 30 instead of 20, but there’s never a happy anything in a case like this. There are no happy endings in murder. Locking up a young teenager forever, or close to it, is not going to bring Lawrence back and it’s not going to make anyone feel any better. Quite simply, after murder, nothing makes you feel better, except maybe time. And a very long one at that.

  9. noah says


    By your own words, you do not call for justice but for vengeance. Justice implies fairness. Trying a child as an adult is blatantly unfair.

  10. Yeek says

    There are several points I wish to discuss:

    >> Will it make him less homophobic to go to one of the most notoriously homophobic places, prison, where homosexual rape has become a joke?

    Rehabilitation can be a secondary goal of the justice system, but the primary goal must be justice. In other words, while making Brandon McInery a better person is a nice idea, and society might benefit from it, punishing him is even more important. Sometimes we are able to do both, but if we can’t…he’s got to pay first, in the measure that is appropriate, even if it makes him a worse person.

    >>But locking up Brandon forever won’t bring him [Lawrence] back.

    I’m kind of surprised every time I read something like this. I don’t think there’s a single person on Earth who honestly believes that once Brandon McInery is locked way, Lawrence King’s body will heal, he will draw breath again, and he will live. It’s just such a crazy idea that pointing it out seems so ridiculous. Nobody’s making the argument that imprisonment of McInery will resurrect King. It’s like saying “locking up Brandon forever won’t keep the moon from smashing into the Earth.” Just bizarre.

    >>Science shows us that the brain of a child is inherently incapable of making logical, moral decisions in the same was as adults. Therefore, how can we hold a child up to the same standard as we would an adult?

    The law has long acknowledged what science tells us, which is that younger people do not have the same emotional and intellectual maturity as ‘normal’ adults. There are some adults as well who have reduced intellectual capacity (due to mental retardation, etc.).

    #1): The way the law looks at a teenager’s behavior is first by looking at the behavior of OTHER kids in the same group to see if there’s a profound difference. In other words, if a 14 year old kicks over a bunch of garbage cans, is he that different from many other 14 year olds? No, he isn’t, even if he’s making a dumb, obnoxious decision. A huge number of teenagers (most?) do something like this at some point in their lives.

    However, if a teenager walks into a classroom and shoots somebody in the head, is there a profound difference there? Yes. After all, if the “child brains” of all teenagers are more or less the same, then this kind of violence should be pretty much par for the course for 14 year old boys.

    In McInery’s case, his behavior is clearly vastly at odds with that of most teenagers his age. The “kids have undeveloped brains” argument doesn’t get him off the hook, because all those other teenagers with undeveloped brains aren’t pulling the same sick shit that he did.

    #2) The law allows for the prosecution of a “less culpable class” (child, mentally deficient adult) if it can be shown that their behavior was planned, they were aware of what they were doing, they were in control of their own actions, and they were aware that their behavior was wrong. I think McInery passes all those tests. He brought the gun to school that morning. He purposefully walked up to King and shot him in the head. He has no history of psychosis. He then ran away, indicating that he knew he had done something wrong and would be pursued.

    Now, what will actually happen? Well, McInery wants to go to Juvie court because he’ll get an incredibly light sentence. If he is not granted a juvenile trial, he’ll cop a plea to manslaughter or whatever. Believe me, he’s not going to get locked away for the rest of his life. He’s a good-looking athletic white kid, and every prosecutor knows it’ll take just one tearful sob and one bleeding heart juror and the kid will get an acquittal, no matter what he deserves. Then he’ll never see justice of any kind. The DA will be begging to settle this case once it’s out of Juvenile Court. Brandon will end up getting sentenced to 10, and will be out in 5.

  11. JerzeeMike says

    NOAH, you are woefully misinformed if you think I’m advocating vengeance over justice. If I were calling for vengeance I would be screaming for the death penalty for Brandon McInerney. I am not. However, I believe in justice and I do not believe that Brandon McInerney did not realize the consequences of his actions. So please don’t tell me what I’m calling for, I have no problem letting others know how I feel.

    YEEK, you obviously are an intelligent, thoughtful person. You eloquently hit every point I believe in regarding this case and somehow managed to not be as insulting as some on this site have taken to be when you have a different opinion as others. Thank you for being an even-handed voice of reason.

  12. says

    The little shit DID have a history of confrontations with other kids, Lawrence King included. Had he gotten into a fight that resulted in King’s death there’s no question he would have been tried as a juvenile, and the death seen as “accidental” or some such.

    But he went and got a gun, brought to class and show Lawrence King twice at point blank range in the back of the head.

    He should — and from the looks of things WILL — be tried as an adult.

  13. ryan says

    wtf? the kid brought a gun to school and shot king in the back of the head. he deserves whatever is coming to him and should be tried as an adult.

  14. richard s says

    I find it hard to forgive this young man.What possible excuse is there for MURDER? Justice will or will not be done , it all depends on your point of view. I was terrified of boys like this as a child. It is not a one off for this young man. sorry.

  15. richard s says

    I find it hard to forgive this young man.What possible excuse is there for MURDER? Justice will or will not be done , it all depends on your point of view. I was terrified of boys like this as a child. It is not a one off for this young man. sorry.

  16. DJ says

    PEOPLE,get it through your thick skulls,this little son of a bitch,brought a gun to school and shot a fellow classmate and DID INDEED have a motive.The Motive? Hate.He SHOULD and hopefully WILL be tried as an ADULT.If you wanna make it fair.Punish his fucked up parents as well.I dont get it with some gay people,they wanna sit here and act like its not a big deal what this bastard did,a normal idividual with half a KNATS brain knows that murder is murder,this little pussy should be punished.Stop sitting here and trying to make it seem as if this was just some freak accident stunt like a couple of kids mocking the MTV show Jackass.This was a CRIME and it was indeed motivated by anti-gay hate

  17. Wheezy says

    Brandon McInerney is neither adult nor child. He was old enough to know better, but not mature enough to fully realize the consequences. Cold comfort for Lawrence King. Justice is not served for teenagers in adult OR juvenile court. There should be a third way for adolescents.

  18. Clay says

    Bring that damn boy down here to Texas. We are famous for knowing what to do with that kind of boy. Is that what you would rather have? I think 51 years in prison is a pretty darn good trade-off than a few years on death row in Huntsville, Texas.