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Lawrence King Murder Trial To Begin With 'Gay Panic' Defense

6a00d8341c730253ef0134856d6be5970c-800wi It's hard to believe that it has been three years since 14-year old Brandon McInerney allegedly walked into his middle school classroom and shot his classmate, Lawrence King.

But, it has been, and now McInerney's trial is set to start today in Los Angeles, where his defense attorneys reportedly plan on playing the "gay panic" card to explain his actions that fateful day.

From the Los Angeles Times:

McInerney's lawyers, Scott Wippert and Robyn Bramson, say their client doesn't deny the killing. But they argue it was voluntary manslaughter because the adolescent was provoked by King's repeated sexual advances.

Fellow students say the two had clashed for days over King's expressing his attraction to McInerney. King, who was living in a children's shelter because of problems at home, had recently gone to school wearing eye makeup and women's accessories.

McInerney was humiliated by King's advances, his attorneys said. He came from a violent home and decided to end his misery in a way that made sense to him — with a gun. He shot King "in the heat of passion caused by the intense emotional state between these two boys at school," Bramson said last week outside the courthouse, where jury selection was underway.

McInernery's lawyers will also argue that their client was too young to fully understand the scope of his actions and to deal with King's "advances," which it sounds like they plan on painting in the most predatory light possible.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, will argue that McInernery, now 17, planned his attack and should therefore be charged with a hate crime.

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  1. I thought gay panic defense is illegal in California. And if you are being sexually harassed you go to the principal's office. That is what McNerry should of done instead of killing King.

    Posted by: Matt Munson | Jul 5, 2011 10:11:30 AM

  2. Why does the sexuality of the person he shot or his motivations for shooting him matter?

    Anyone that is going to commit such an act towards anyone for any reason is clearly unable to participate in society in a productive manner and needs to be tossed in a cell that’s promptly welded shut.

    Would it have been any more acceptable if a gay student had sat down behind a jock and blown his brains out for refusing his advances?

    Posted by: Nothing Quantitative | Jul 5, 2011 11:08:52 AM

  3. If women killed every man that made an unwanted advance toward them...well there wouldn't be many straight men left.

    Posted by: QJersey | Jul 5, 2011 11:09:31 AM

  4. "Why does the sexuality of the person he shot or his motivations for shooting him matter?"

    Apparently, it matters, and is being discussed here, because those are the circumstances of the case. Motivations for any crime are always considered.

    Posted by: Dastius Krazitauc | Jul 5, 2011 11:24:50 AM

  5. allegedly? He admits killing King!!! There is no allegedly about this!

    Posted by: Grover Underwood | Jul 5, 2011 12:47:09 PM

  6. The only thing that will change the atmosphere of hate is a civil law suit against the school district. Why? The bigoted kill pulls the trigger, but the bigoted school administrators set the atmosphere of hate. These administrators are living vicariously and are secretly gleeful when someone does what they want to do themselves: kill some queer kid. A civil law suit would make administrators think twice before they promote hate. Civil lawsuits always have that effect.

    Posted by: Phil | Jul 5, 2011 12:49:17 PM

  7. The "gay panic" defence should get a lawyer disbarred.

    Posted by: Randy | Jul 5, 2011 2:07:03 PM

  8. @Phil, saying that all administrators secretly want to kill gay kids and are gleeful when they die is an appalling, paranoid, immature, and completely unsupported accusation. If the administrators were so hateful, they wouldn't have let King wear makeup or women's clothing---dress codes could have been created or enforced (and probably should have been if King's actions put him in such danger at such a young age).

    Unless you're a teacher or another employee in that school, I'd like to know how you're familiar with its supposed "atmosphere of hate." McInerney's father is, by all accounts, a hyper masculine, antigay jerk. Maybe you should consider that, since parents affect kids a whole lot more than school administrators. Barbarism begins at home.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jul 5, 2011 2:09:42 PM

  9. The California law (which went into effect in 2007, after the first trial of Gwen Araujo's murderers) does address use of a 'gay/trans panic' defense. Unfortunately, it doesn't completely ban its use. It does say that bias against the victim cannot be used as a motivating factor for the defense of an accused. It also mandates that jury instructions cannot appeal to their possible bias against the victims. But there are loopholes including how the accused's bias might have impacted their mental state...etc. As with so many anti-discrimination laws, there are lots holes to drive through. :(

    Posted by: GInasf | Jul 5, 2011 2:41:16 PM

  10. McInerney was not your average 14 year old (obviously). He had a long history of premeditated violence. He came from a violent household, and he acted in kind. That, however, is not a defense for premeditated murder (heat of passion my ass). For example, there's video of him taken in Juvie where he just came flying across a locker room and took another kid out who was merely dressing and had his back to McInerney before the attack. He's being tried as an adult because of his background of multiple violent convictions, and the nature of his "lying in wait" for Larry. It's clear this kid's beyond redemption. Sorry to say it, but some people just shouldn't be out amongst society.

    Posted by: BobC562 | Jul 5, 2011 3:17:52 PM

  11. Someone up there (in this comment thread) said how come the parents aren't on trial.
    I don't remember reading about Brandon's mother but I do remember reading about his father. It wasn't long after the murder occurred, Brandon's father committed suicide.
    I recently read about the possibility of 'neo-nazi sympathies' in the family.

    Posted by: Tom | Jul 5, 2011 4:30:55 PM

  12. He is to young to be in a adult court and that the trial took this long to start is messed up.

    Posted by: toyotabedzrock | Jul 5, 2011 5:45:36 PM

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