Brandon McInerney: ‘I Wanted To Kill Him’

6a00d8341c730253ef014e899c56ff970d-800wi Brandon McInerney reportedly told a prison psychologist that he obsessed over shooting gay classmate Lawrence King.

Via the Los Angeles Times:

For McInerney, there had been months of pressure to do better in school from his abusive, methamphetamine-addicted father. And now, there was this strange remark from this strange boy — a comment that McInerney later described as “superdisgusting.”

“I sat and I thought about it over and over,” he told psychologist Douglas Hoagland months after he shot King in a computer lab at E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard. “It didn’t calm me down. It made me more angry. All I could think about was I wanted to kill him.”

McInerney’s internal monologue came out Monday in a Chatsworth courtroom as a prosecutor tried to shake the testimony of Hoagland, an expert for the defense in McInerney’s murder trial.

In addition to showing how anti-gay sentiment can fester, this trial also highlights why our nation needs to do more to assess and treat mental illness. The fact that McInerney had no where to go for his misguided hate highlights the dearth of treatment and awareness here.


  1. JH says

    Even sadder – he did go to teachers, counselors, the principal – and they one and all failed to address his issues. Let’s hope that one good thing to come from this tragedy is that it is used to remedy the problems that brought this about.

  2. says

    JH *and likely RICK,soon* are always going to blame Lawrence King for his own death. ohhhh blame the gender-nonconformist for being oh-so-different from you “i can pass for white” homosexuals.

    society and the system failed both boys. it failed Lawrence by not promoting a culture that celebrates diversity, and it failed McInerney by shaping him into a monster with no feeling.

  3. just_a_guy says

    I don’t buy this whole mental illness thing:

    Real people taught McInerney to hate. And he CHOSE to latch onto it.

    If King were not gay, this festering by McInerney would be called pure and simple premeditation, no?

    But King IS gay and that was PART of McInerney’s motive…to kill a gay guy: I see hate crime, don’t you?

  4. just_a_guy says

    But because hating gay people is somehow still socially acceptable, am I right that they are trying to paint in some bogus “homosexual panic” or mental illness defense??

    Not right if they are. Just not right. Seems SOO premeditated.

  5. Derrick from Philly says

    Why does McInerney garner such sympathy from so many? What is it about him that makes some feel so sorry for him?

    What if the situation were reversed and Lawrence King used a gun on Brian McInerney–how much sympathy would they have for King?

  6. Joey says

    McInerney was raised as a killer and there is nothing any of us can do about it except lock him away from society where he can do no more harm. It is so sad that neither boy had a chance in life. The only hope is that we learn and change so something like this doesn’t happen quite as often.
    Teachers are not responsible for the actions children sent to them by fathers like McInerney, who, is the real villain here.

  7. Jesus says

    Personally, I don’t see how JH is implying that King brought this on himself. The problem he seems to be addressing is McInerney’s abusive situation at home and the pressure he was under during this time. Does that mean that picking up a gun and shooting someone in the head twice is an appropriate response? By no means do I think anyone is implying that. But WHY did he go that far? WHY was King’s behavior affecting him that way and WHY did it ultimately drive him to commit murder? These are the questions we need to be focusing on, or else we’ve just lost two more young souls to hatred and violence that we seem to ignore. It’s like we’ve all come down with leprosy, but instead of treating to problem and curing it, we’re only slapping Neosporin and happy feel-good bandages on every festering sore until we’re covered entirely, but still rotting inside.

    I’m not saying this is excusable, but what I am saying is that one young teenager is dead and another has a sad future ahead of him, and all of this is a result of a much larger, uglier picture that people have been trying to address for years. These are CHILDREN—OUR CHILDREN. They are a product of not one home, but a society, and the sooner we stop making excuses and start addressing the real issues, the more effective we will all be at creating supportive, nurturing spaces for our children to grow up in so that they can become healthy, well-rounded human beings. We have to share this rock, ALL OF US. On what terms we share it is up to us, and no one else.

  8. just_a_guy says

    That’s great, Jesus, but we try kids who commit cold-blooded murder as adults all the time, don’t we?!

    Why should we have sympathy for THIS 14 yo just because he killed a gay kid…and too many people still think it’s accepatable to hate gays.


    Equal justice for all is the way to live on this rock together, dude.

  9. justme says

    It’s sad that a young kid died, gay or not, and we can’t help him, can we?
    And it’s sad that another young kid could spend the rest of his life locked up. He grew up with no guidance, withouth anyone teaching him wrong from right. Young minds are easily influenced, if he was only shown hate, that is what he learned, he was not shown how to love because he never received any. So, why shouldn’t people feel sad for Brian McInerney? He killed, sure, and it’s horrible, but he is alive and he can be thought to love, he can be thought that what he did was wrong.

  10. says

    All the rehab in the world wouldn’t have cured Jeffrey Dahmer.

    For all the “he was made a monster” talk, which I agree with in many respects, the reality is that some people are just hateful sociopaths who are incapable of feeling empathy and compassion for others.

    Dahmer had siblings. They didn’t murder.

  11. Jesus says

    Yes, Just_a_Guy, I know we try young people as adults all the time, but does it make the circumstances any less tragic?

    This isn’t about sympathy for McInerney, it’s about compassion for the humanity of all people. And even more important, it’s about addressing the bigger issues at play here. This isn’t about this one case, because for every one like this, there are probably hundreds more that don’t receive media attention and slip under our radars unnoticed.

    We can sit around and feel self-righteous about our rage and pass judgement on this kid and pat ourselves on the back for letting the justice system put him away, but how does this change anything? It doesn’t. This shouldn’t have happened in the first place. But it did, and it is horrible, and the only way something good will come of it is if we make it so.

    Putting Brandon in jail for his crime is not unreasonable and will certainly give him the opportunity to turn things around, if he so chooses. But I refuse to lose sight of the fact that this is a young person, not far removed from childhood, and a product of our society, the good parts and the bad. And nothing can change the fact that King is gone. No amount of prison time. Not even the death penalty. There are more questions in these circumstances than there are answers. We just need to find the courage to ask them.

  12. just_a_guy says

    @JustMe: Great, you have sympathy for killers.

    Sorry, but this isn’t the time or place. A quarter of the country who HATES gays more than killers is TAKING YOUR EXACT STANCE right now. But they would not take that stance if the roles were reversed.

    It’s not the time to sympathize with young killers generally.

    It’s time to call for JUSTICE for the murder of Lawrence King. What about THAT boy’s life?!

    Hate to say it, but if we gays were more mobilized like other minority communities, there’d be rioting if cold-blooded killer McInerney gets off easy.

    As it is, we are sufficiently oppressed that there won’t be rioting: Our best hope might be the PFLAG parents marching in protest.

    The lgbta community should give a D**n about justice for Lawrence King.

    Just sayin.

  13. just_a_guy says

    It’s not time for us to sit by passively and weigh whether we should give more rehab opportunities to young Dahmers.


    Lawrence King had almost NO ONE.

    If we are not standing up for JUSTICE for the senseless murder of young, innocent Lawrence King, WHO WILL?!!

  14. says

    I would be interested to hear from the folks who say that the teachers and principal didn’t “address the issues”. What would they suggest that the teacher do? “Support diversity?” Great. Sounds awesome, and I support that. But how? How can a teacher with two dozen kids in each class really do anything that would have been effective at avoiding this tragedy? If the principal had encouraged young Lawrence to tone it down, then he/she’d be slammed for stifling Lawrence’s individuality. Instead, the principal made the decision to allow Lawrence the latitude to make his own decisions regarding social behavior, and Lawrence ran with that. I can’t blame him. McInerney was clearly disturbed enough to kill someone at the drop of a hat, but how could anyone have known that? Did he have a history of violent behavior toward other students? If so, why was he still in the mainstream class? Did the good voters of California decide that they didn’t want to fund programs for kids with behavioral problems? Probably. Did they join in the growing chorus of know-nothings characterizing teachers as lazy good-for-nothing tax liabilities who don’t deserve their meager salaries and benefits? Most certainly. Did the teachers try to make do with what little they had, in an attempt to continue serving their ever-growing caseload? Of course, teachers have been making do with slim pickings since the dawn of time. I don’t claim to have the answer, but I do say that blaming the teachers isn’t it.

  15. says

    If the dumb comment at the end of this article is ever adopted by the country then every bigot and hate-monger, who violates the rights of others, has an excuse. The author just said that bigotry is a disease, a so-called “mental illness.” That would mean that no bigot is responsible for the crime they commit since they are not criminals but sick. Hate is hate, it is a criminal offense to harm others, not a disease. And, even if there were such a disease as hate, what precisely gives the author of this article the credentials to diagnose it?

  16. just_a_guy says

    “If the principal had encouraged young Lawrence to tone it down, then he/she’d be slammed for stifling Lawrence’s individuality. Instead, the principal made the decision to allow Lawrence the latitude to make his own decisions regarding social behavior, and Lawrence ran with that. I can’t blame him.”

    Agreed, Milkman. Young, innocent Lawrence King did NOTHING wrong.

    To give McInerney a lighter sentence of ANY kind effectively SAYS that young Lawrence did something wrong. That if teachers allow a kid to express a different gender identity, then the law justifies KILLING him…and that teachers should live in FEAR of young psychopaths KILLING diversity students and so should quiet the diversity kids INSTEAD OF standing up to bullies.

    Not cool. This McInerney trial says something about the the state of providing a safe safe for young lgbt students. If McInerney gets off easy, hateful parents will be pressing their kids to mimic McInerney unconscionable actions. This is big.

    Do lgbt kids DESERVE to live in fear for being THEMSELVES?!

    McInerney sympathizers seem to think so.

  17. justme says

    I have no sympathy for killers. You don’t know me and you shouldn’t even judge.
    So, it would have been okay if he had shot a straight guy?
    So, you are right! Let’s kill him, right? Violence with violence right? Eye for an eye? This is the right way to solve the problems in this world?
    Let’s send our youngs in Iraq to kill everybody, right? This is the ONLY way to stop terrosism?!
    Sure starts some riots, go in the streets, start shooting everybody. Seriously!

    And I don’t think this case is not comparable to Jeffrey Dahmer at all. LITTLE KIWI, he was a monster, he hate people for God sake!

    And, I am just saying!

  18. craig in portland says

    Okay, Yes McInerny killed King. McInerny was taught hate. He was ALSO taught to respect and that killing is wrong too! He still made a choice to kill.

  19. just_a_guy says

    The author of this article in the L.A. Times FRAMED the story to be sympathetic to killer McInerney. The person who summarized it on Tollroad mimicked that tone. (Is Andy on vacation??)

    The REAL issue is bias against LGBT kids and the bogus legal justification that it’s ok to kill a gay kid because you can claim effectively “mental instability,” i.e. that your biases against gay people are understandable and PROTECTED. Even when it’s clearly premeditated murder.

    Messed up.

  20. says

    @ THEMILKMAN, up here in the sane and rational country known as CANADA we have actual talks about LGBT Diversity in the classroom.

    As in, teachers and educators sit and talk with students about LGBT people, about their LGBT Classmates, and actual LGBT people come in to talk about their lives.

    The problem is not “the teachers” – the problem is the American education system, which is muzzled by bigots. Oh, sure. Parents will freak out about LGBT discussions in classrooms. But you know what? The parents who freak out are the parents of the kids that are THE PROBLEM.

    Canada has woken up to this. Time for the US to do the same.

  21. Jesus says

    Firstly, Brandon McInerney is no Dahmer. It is an insult to both King’s memory and the victims of Dahmer to compare the two, IMHO.

    But you want to talk about justice? What is justice for Lawrence King?

    Putting away his killer: Check


    I don’t disagree with any of you. When I read this story, I cried. I saw part of myself in King. He took the same unabashed, loud and proud stance I took to get me through the worst of times, and I thank the stars every day that I made it out alive. I feared death at the hands of a person who is now locked up for killing someone else. This hit home for me hard, which is why I feel so strongly about it personally.

    But what is justice? It isn’t a simple question and will not be satisfied with simple answers. I can sit here and cry and let my heart bleed for King, but what does it do (PS I do it anyway)? Little Kiwi hit the nail on head (minus the accusatory statement aimed at JH) when zie wrote:

    “society and the system failed both boys. it failed Lawrence by not promoting a culture that celebrates diversity, and it failed McInerney by shaping him into a monster with no feeling.”

    Yes, society, of which we are all active members.

    Most of what I am reading now seems like reactionary, pitchfork and torches mob mentality, and it just irked me. Honestly, I don’t know what conversation I wished we were having, but I just can’t feel good about any of this.

  22. Bruno says

    I don’t think McInerney is much like Dahmer. Dahmer had what seemed to be a fairly normal upbringing, although he showed signs of behavioral abnormality at a very early age. It seems to me that McInerney was turned into a pit bull of sorts; a kid that inherited hatred from an unstable upbringing. And of course where there’s hatred, it’s often directed at gays or those perceived as gay.

    I think it’s too late for McInerney…perhaps a lengthy jail stint will help reverse the danger he continues to pose to society. While I have sympathy for he or any child who is royally ruined by his guardian(s), we just cannot risk having this boy loose in society to kill again.

  23. Mike says

    And by mental illness he wasn’t just depressed or a little confused, he was homicidal, (and had direct access to a gun, which is another issue this story should be highlighting.)

  24. just_a_guy says

    @Jesus, that’s great, you’ve got Stockholm syndrome.

    And so many gay people are still SOO oppressed in their lives that they LATCH HOLD OF defending their persecutors AS A WAY to get through their lives, to make sense of it all.

    It’s time to stand up, folks. It’s time to stop blaming yourself for others’ unjustifiable hatred of you.

    ANd it’s time to stand up for victims like Lawrence King.

    We need to be strong enough to not fall over ourselves to defend the bullies: what kind of life is THAT?! Even if it feels like it makes life easier in the short-term, what kind of life IS it…

    I say face your people’s enemies down with a straight-forward and honest gaze. Falling prey to their claimed justifications for murder of your people is ASKING for them to mind-F*** you, something people like the Bachman’s have made a BUSINESS and CAREER of.

    No, peeps.

    There is justifiable RAGE against the atrocity committed on Lawrence King.

    If you don’t feel it, check yourself: WHy DON’T you? Do you consider him subhuman??! (Just like the haters do and want you to, too?!)

  25. Jesus says

    Who is defending bullies?? I am simply pointing out the fact that we cannot continue to dehumanize people, even people we consider our enemies! That’s how humanism works!

    “Not cool. This McInerney trial says something about the the state of providing a safe safe for young lgbt students. If McInerney gets off easy, hateful parents will be pressing their kids to mimic McInerney unconscionable actions. This is big.”

    Really? I mean, I’m all about letting the legal system, as stilted and broken as it can sometimes be, carry out justice because that is how it works in this country, but you can’t be serious. Making an example of one person doesn’t necessarily mean that others will not do the same exact thing. I guess little Brandon is too young to remember Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney.

    Do I sympathize with King? NO DOUBT

    Do I blame people like myself who are out, open, and defiantly queer: NO, and I will continue to walk through Times Square holding another man’s hand and being as out and proud as I want to be, no matter how many people tell me they want me to bite a curb, or punch me, or kick me, or hit me, or whatever it is because god damn if I’m going out, I’m going out because I was standing up for myself.

    Should McInerney face the consequences of his actions, up to and including a lengthy prison sentence that will surely cause him greater mental stress and separate him from his friends and family, or even the few people that love and care about him (because he is, after all, a PERSON like the rest of us): ABSO-F*CKING-LUTELY

    Don’t get it twisted, okay? I’m pretty sure no one here sympathizes with someone who would kill someone in cold blood for expressing themselves as a queer person, so can the hostility.

    And Guy, please don’t try to diagnose people. You don’t know me, or probably many other people who are responding contrary to your opinion, so don’t pretend like you do. Of course I feel rage, otherwise I probably wouldn’t spend so much time typing these long responses, but I’m more concerned about controlling it than letting it control me. It’s a powerful tool, when it’s used the right way.


  26. just_a_guy says

    @Jesus, LOL. This wasn’t an unworthy dialogue to have. We don’t fully disagree with each other, but I wanted to make the call-for-justice-for-King outlook CLEAR…cuz I just feel like it’s getting lost in the shuffle…even here on TR.

  27. Michael says

    I just want to say that I will never feel sorry for anyone who uses violence against another human being. The murderer should be prosecuted and punished. He did it. He confessed. I will go all “Rodney King Riot” in the streets if this guy gets off with anything but first degree murder. He went there that day with the intention of killing King. That is a fact. If a jury feels pity for him and gives him anything less, it will be a huge miscarriage of justice.

  28. says

    @Li’l Kiwi – I would go a titch further… the problem isn’t the educational system. The problem is the bigotry and deeply sex-phobic culture of the United States. The problem is us. We should be able to talk about sex openly and honestly in the classroom, but you and I both know that this is never, ever, ever, ever going to happen. Not here. That ship sailed once the Mayflower docked. All those Puritans… we never had a chance. And with the addition of a population that not only doesn’t support education but actively disdains it… well then… I’m not sure what more we can do.

    Glad you’ve made such great strides in Canada.

  29. NaughtyLola says

    @Michael, can I just highlight two things you just said?

    “I just want to say that I will never feel sorry for anyone who uses violence against another human being.”


    “I will go all “Rodney King Riot” in the streets if this guy gets off with anything but first degree murder.”

    Which is it?

  30. Bryan says

    Brandon McInerney is a minor and his trial is a disgraceful sop thrown to America’s growing guilt over its history of anti-gay bigotry. It’s not so much too little too late as it is simply wrong.

    Heterosexuals too often reproduce will all the forethought of yeast, and near as I can tell, our culture gives our schools a funding priority on par with weeding highway medians. His parents should be facing a jury, not their son, and every one of us should be considering how our actions and inactions led to this, including the fact that we do not as a society hold parents responsible for rearing the children they choose to have.

    A majority of the comments here and elsewhere demonstrate nothing beyond a mindless primate lust for revenge. It’s unsurprising that the idiocracy can’t conceive a distinction between justice and vengeance, but as a community, LGBTQ people must demand more of ourselves.

    Nothing can change the fact that the life of one young person is over. How will justice be served by destroying another? While we witch hunt McInerney, the problems which led inevitably to his actions go unaddressed.

  31. Derrick from Philly says

    Oh, my, this is such hypocrisy–but it’s so American.

    If Brian McInerney’s name was Raheem Johnson from South Central LA or the Bronx you people who have so much compassion would be calling him a savage and a product of his “culture”. You’d be saying, “he was old enough to know what he was doing.”

    And of course, if Lawrence King looked like Brian McInerney many here would have far more sympathy for his assasinated soul.

    Too many Ameicans (Gay, Straight, whatever the ever) are just hypocrites.

    President Rick Perry is on his way!

  32. Not Bryan says

    Bryan wrote “Nothing can change the fact that the life of one young person is over. How will justice be served by destroying another? While we witch hunt McInerney, the problems which led inevitably to his actions go unaddressed.”

    This 14-year-old planned and carried out an execution. McInerney could have lured Lawrence King to some secluded spot and shot him. He could have found him in the bathroom and shot him. He chose to kill him in front of witnesses. This was classic.

    Karen Franklin studied the motivations of such perpetrators. (See the link below) McInerney was defending social norms with his act. He was restoring his environment to what he believed was its natural state — gay free. He didn’t shoot King because of his unhappy home life. He shot King because Lawrence was an offense to him, a blight, and that blight had to be removed.

    You expect us to feel sorry for this killer?

  33. Astro Boy says

    I’m really sick of this blame the victim crap. Do I feel bad for McInerney for his horrible home life? Yeah. But he needs to pay for what he did. And like David said not only did he kill Lawrence, the other kids in that class room are going to live with this nightmare forever. Let’s hope something is done to help them deal with this.

  34. Paul R says

    A child killed a child. I can’t believe anyone would think that’s comparable to an adult killing an adult, much less a Jeffrey Dahmer-like situation.

    Count me among those who think his father and Nazi older brother should also be on trial.

  35. Anita Tucker says

    Brandon McInerney turned 14 two weeks before this shooting. Are we to ignore biology? A 13-14 year old brain is very underdeveloped in the most relevant way related to his actions. Was what he did right? Of course not, was he old enough to fully process the consequences of his actions? Science says no. Had this happened two weeks earlier we wouldn’t be on this blog. Brandon would have been tried as the youth that he was at the time, where the court takes into account age, background, mental development, etc. when making their decisions.

    Larry King did not deserve to die that is clear, but the same society failed him too. Do you know that Larry was not in the custody of his parents? That he had been removed from his home along with his brother and was living at a group home? There was lack of guidance and issues in his upbringing as well. Junior High School is not like High School or College. Dress codes are in place for a reason, there was even a uniform policy. Any distracting clothing whether it be a football jersey, South Park T-shirt, or pants below the butt, are not permitted. Not permitted because of the age and immaturity level of the students. It was irresponsible for the school to allow Larry to dress the way he did. His brother even begged the school to do something for fear of what might happen, but because the issue was related to this childs sexuality, they did nothing. Sexual harrassment is also not permitted so the school failed there as well. If Brandon was making derrogitority remarks to Larry, he should have been disciplined, but so too should have been Larry. However, again because of the pressure to be “fair” they were unfair. I believe the goal is to treat all people the same, not allow any group to harrass any other, but to expect this enlightened, mature behavior to exist in a Middle School is unrealistic.

    IMO it is the school who failed both of these children. Had proper proceedure been followed, I believe this incident would not have happened. Regardless, two lives have been destroyed, forever and if you think that trying youth offenders as adults will make everyone get along or act as a deterrant, you are sadly mistaken.

    Drive drunk as an adult and kill someone, not murder. But here there are such large political motivations behind these elected officials, that they want to put this boy away forever. Feels like vengence, not justice to me.

    FYI: my son is gay, and when he came out in high school it was my job to tell him the real about society and the ugly truth about gay bashing. I monitored his actions and behaviors to keep him safe. I did not allow him to be a target for the ignorant. Yet in still he now faces harrassment in college. The ignorant are everywhere. I encourage him to be a proud and good man. Not to worry about a label that in time I pray will not have to be worn. Gay or straight, black, white or brown, be a proud human being on this earth.

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