Brandon McInerney | Crime | Lawrence King | News

Judge Allows Manslaughter Charge in McInerney Trial; Lawrence King's Killer Could Get as Little as 14 Years

Jurors will be able to consider a voluntary manslaughter charge in the trial of Brandon McInerney, who shot his gay classmate Lawrence King in the head in an Oxnard, California courtroom in February 2008, the Ventura County Star reports:

Kingmcinerney "I think it is too risky and we have gone on too long and there is too much invested in this to take a risk with an appellate judge who might disagree," Ventura County Superior Court Judge Charles Campbell said.

Conviction on a first-degree murder charge would bring a mandatory 50-year sentence, but a manslaughter sentence ranges from four to 11 years, along with a 10-year enhancement for using a gun. McInerney will have to be found not guilty of first- and second-degree murder by all 12 jurors for them to consider the manslaughter charge.

The paper adds: "Decisions must be unanimous or the jury is hung. A first-degree murder is one of premeditation; manslaughter is a homicide committed in the heat of passion. McInerney also faces a hate crime charge that carries a one- to three-year sentence."

Closing arguments are set to begin Thursday morning.

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  1. I have a sinking feeling he will get convicted of the lesser charge.

    Posted by: Reynoldo | Aug 24, 2011 2:14:38 PM

  2. how is manslaughter even an option when the murderer admitted to actually planning to kill the poor boy in advance ??? This is quite literally insane. It was clearly premeditated.

    Posted by: paul | Aug 24, 2011 2:19:35 PM

  3. He planned it, talked about planning it, and did it. What more do you want? A gun didn't magically appear in his hand at the point of confrontation.

    Posted by: luminum | Aug 24, 2011 2:20:46 PM

  4. Well, I am glad to hear this. The US justice system is far too punitive. And as far as I am concerned, convicting someone of a crime who was 14 at the time and sentencing them to 14 years is a life sentence.

    Posted by: Charlie | Aug 24, 2011 2:23:11 PM

  5. Charlie--If this were a drug related offense or a robbery, I would agree. I don't think a premeditated murder is of the same stripe. This kid, if let off with 14 years, will still have much of his young adulthood ahead of him. The victim is dead forever. I say at least keep the murderer in prison until he is middle aged!

    Posted by: candideinnc | Aug 24, 2011 2:31:13 PM

  6. I'm with Charlie. As much as I hate what the kid did, he's a kid - or he was when he did this. There's far too many sources in our society that enforce or encourage this type of behavior when dealing with situations you don't like - movies, tv, pop music, religion. Throwing him in an adult prison for the next 14 years - what are still his formative years - will either give him time to reflect on how he could have better dealt with the circumstances and help him turn himself around... or make him a much much worse individual. As horrible as it was, the kid only made the one mistake that I'm aware of.

    Posted by: MikeInSanJose | Aug 24, 2011 2:31:38 PM

  7. @Charlie, he's 17 now. He'll be out at 31, if he is not paroled earlier. Missing out on your 20s because you intentionally shot someone in the back of the head hardly constitutes a "life sentence". Not even close.

    Posted by: NaughtyLola | Aug 24, 2011 2:33:25 PM

  8. I'm with Charlie and MikeInSanJose. Yes, a kid is a kid and simply can't be held as culpable as an adult. That we charge kids in adult court is a crime.

    Posted by: David R. | Aug 24, 2011 2:36:30 PM

  9. So what is the deal with comments on this site? Why do so many of them never show up?

    Posted by: Fenrox | Aug 24, 2011 2:37:35 PM

  10. Made one mistake mikefromsanjose? He brought a gun to school, and shot another boy. He didn't push him, he didn't start a fight, he didn't impulsively buy drugs or start a fire, he planned a murder, and committed a murder. He has to pay the punishment... I understand he's a product of his environment, and he was abused, but he was not assisted to committ murder. He planned it- on his own. An innocent boy is dead, and he should not be free at 30, free to do whatever he likes.

    Posted by: Scott | Aug 24, 2011 2:41:30 PM

  11. "McInerney will have to be found not guilty of first- and second-degree murder by all 12 jurors for them to consider the manslaughter charge.... A first-degree murder is one of premeditation; manslaughter is a homicide committed in the heat of passion."

    So then, what's the definition of second-degree murder, since the paper seems to place it somewhere between first degree and manslaughter?

    Posted by: Kevin_BGFH | Aug 24, 2011 2:43:09 PM

  12. Wow, I'm stunned at all the comments urging leniency for the poor young lad who planned a murder, brought a deadly weapon to school, and shot a human being execution style in the back (of the head) in front of a class of school students. Yeah, um, LIFE in PRISON is what this psychopath deserves. I sure hope the jury sees this clearly.

    When you do not plan a murder, bring a gun to carry out that plan, and then KILL someone, that's MURDER - not manslaughter. How absurd.

    A long sentence is not to punish this kid. It's to keep the rest of us safe from him.

    Posted by: Zlick | Aug 24, 2011 2:49:33 PM

  13. I call bull on this, here I am watching many cases of murder, but guess what, my father was murdered by three men when I was 8, that was 34 years ago, the men are all free now after serving time, myself, I didn't really get to know my father. How many times growing up did you just want to punch the sh!t out of someone for making fun of you or referring you to gay? Myself? Too many times to count, but guess what? I was/am better than that I swallowed my pride and let it be. I have been following this story from the day it happened, yes, Brandon was a minor when the shooting took place, but I call bull on this, he KNEW EXACTLY what he was doing! The King family will live without Lawrence for the rest of their lives, I am sorry but Brandon's family can go visit him in jail-said!

    Posted by: bewilderbeast | Aug 24, 2011 2:51:54 PM

  14. @Kevin: Second Degree Murder is a murder that is not premeditated or planned in advance. ( Perhaps they are not listing it in the paper because it is clearly not applicable to the case.

    Posted by: madbiologist | Aug 24, 2011 2:56:41 PM

  15. I'm with zlick and beilderbeast here.

    Posted by: Jeff | Aug 24, 2011 2:59:53 PM

  16. Both the defense and prosecution have screwed up here. I think the judge knows that so is hedging that it doesn't get too technical upon appeal. Voluntary manslaughter is something of a grey-area law for these types of cases where it might be hard to figure out intent or willfulness.

    Posted by: anon | Aug 24, 2011 3:10:52 PM

  17. What did was horrible, but he was (and still is) a CHILD. Children should NEVER be tried as adults, no matter how heinous the crime. Their brains are not fully developed, and that means that it is quite literally impossible for them to fully comprehend the consequences of their actions.

    Posted by: peterparker | Aug 24, 2011 3:25:11 PM

  18. Disgusting, then if we give sentences like this. Then maybe we should all murder our bullies.

    Posted by: Matt Munson | Aug 24, 2011 3:30:13 PM

  19. Awwwww, the poor little thing with his "not fully developed brain."

    It was developed enough to get ahold of a gun bring it to school and shoot Lawrence King TWICE in the back of the head in full view of his enitre class (the collateral victims of this crime)

    I sincerely hope this mansaughter addition is a technicality so the creep and his lawyers can't appeal if he gets the first degree muder conviction he deserves.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Aug 24, 2011 3:43:34 PM

  20. What McInerney did was absolutely heinous and he will live with it on his conscious and on his record forever. However, as a child, he is not entirely culpable; 1) his parents' job as teach him how to deal with his emotions; 2) adolescent brains are NOT adult brains: so they simply can't be judged as adults. To deny this difference, in the face of the obvious and scientific evidence is just republican-style willful ignorance and irrationality.

    Yes, he should be judged and treated as a very sick child, but a child nonetheless.

    Posted by: David R. | Aug 24, 2011 3:48:07 PM

  21. DavidR--When they get to the stage of sentencing, then these things are relevant. Children are capable of distinguishing right from wrong certainly by age seven. A 14-year-old may have impulse control problems, but premeditated murder goes way beyond poor impulse control. I call a 14 year old an adolescent, not a child. I think if you asked any 14-year-old, they would call it the same.

    Posted by: candideinnc | Aug 24, 2011 3:56:37 PM

  22. Absurd, this boy carefully planned the murder and shot Larry not once, but twice, in the back of the head! The crime McInerny committed was murder, not manslaughter. He is a murderer, pure and simple and should be locked up for a very, very long time, decades and decades, not a measly 14 years.

    Posted by: Xavi | Aug 24, 2011 4:00:25 PM

  23. It was premeditated murder, clearly, admitted by Brandon himself. As for Brandon being 14, I knew killing other people by shooting them in the head was wrong by that age. Let's stop the excuses for bad behavior.

    Posted by: Francis | Aug 24, 2011 4:23:38 PM

  24. He won't get the death penalty because of his age, thank goodness. But think about it. He will go into prison and become a member of the Aryan Brotherhood. Do you really want this guy out on the streets at 30??? Maybe at 50 he might have learned that violence is a dead-end. If he has any good in him let him prove it in prison.

    Posted by: Joey | Aug 24, 2011 4:25:52 PM

  25. Plenty of kids grow up in unpleasant homes. Plenty of kids get abused by their parents. Plenty of kids are subjected to taunts and insults in school. An infinitesimal number of kids who endure these things murder another kid.

    If the liberals on this blog insist on applying generalities to excuse Brandon McInerney's murderous behavior then let's do it correctly. Most kids who suffer at home and at school do not commit murder so McInerney is the exception to these generalities and he should not benefit from them. The kids who deserve our compassion are the ones who put up with this crap and do not kill other people.

    Posted by: Oh please | Aug 24, 2011 4:29:12 PM

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