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Murderous Intent, 'Gay Panic' Arguments Vie to Sway Jury in Closing Hours of Brandon McInerney Trial

Closing arguments should end today in the trial of Brandon McInerney, charged with killing his gay classmate Lawrence King in 2008. Prosecutors argued for a murder conviction, and not the lesser manslaughter conviction the judge allowed earlier this week. Defense attorneys brought  a "gay panic" defense, arguing that McInerney snapped after he was sexually harassed by King.

Kingmcinerney Prosecutor Maeve Fox made her closing arguments in the murder trial of Brandon McInerney yesterday, the AP reports:

Using McInerney's own words via an interview with a psychologist, Fox said during closing arguments that the teen became enraged after Larry passed him in the hallway in February 2008 and made what he believed was the ultimate insult.

McInerney, then 14, made a conscious decision to kill King the next day, telling a friend he planned to shoot his classmate, she said. He hid a gun in his backpack and brought it to E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, where he shot King twice in the back of the head, a "cold-blooded execution," the prosecutor said.

"He intentionally got that gun; he told people what he was going to do," Fox said. "He shot and killed an innocent person."

Defense Attorney Scott Wippert began his closing argument, which will continue today:

In his closing argument Thursday, lawyer Scott Wippert said his client Brandon McInerney didn't have problems with Larry King until King started wearing makeup, high heels and began sexually harassing him in the weeks leading up to the shooting. Wippert also blamed school administrators for not addressing the simmering feud between the boys.

"We're not saying Larry King is a terror, a bad kid, but the adults should have stopped this behavior," Wippert said...

...Defense attorneys do not deny McInerney killed King, but they contend their client came from a violent upbringing. They say he snapped when he heard moments before the shooting that King wanted to change his first name to Latisha.

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  1. It is unfathomable and despair-inducing that this argument is what passes for an acceptable defense in a court of law in 2011. Children who dress and behave in a manner non-conforming to their biological gender apparently court their own murder. Disgusting. I wonder if Mr. Wippert thinks that women who wear short skirts deserve it if they happen to be raped. Actually, no, I don't wonder.

    Posted by: Blake | Aug 26, 2011 12:30:09 PM

  2. its also baffling that they use the term 'snapped' snap in the heat of the moment. This boy told his friends he intended to kill king, he planned the killing the day before, he hid a gun and executed him. It is implausible to use the notion that he suddenly and blindly in a fit of rage lost control.

    Posted by: paul | Aug 26, 2011 12:55:45 PM

  3. The prosecutor, Maeve Fox (full disclosure: a friend and former co-worker at the same DA's office now prosecuting this case) has done an amazing job prosecting a very strong pre-meditated murder case against a desperate defense playing on prejudice and emotion (the despicable "gay panic" defense and the defendant's age/background). If the jury applies the law to the facts, this should be nothing less than a first-degree murder conviction.

    Posted by: John | Aug 26, 2011 1:03:45 PM

  4. "Honestly, Judge, I killed him before he killed me. It was gay panic panic."

    Posted by: lewlew | Aug 26, 2011 1:49:27 PM

  5. Now it all comes together:

    The ultimate insult? Publically announcing that you're going to call yourself "LaTisha." Let that be a warning to future gay kids: You are going to be perceived as a gender terrorist whose gender experimentation is a bomb which will destroy all fragile "straight" male identities in a ten-block radius. If you call yourself, "Mary," or "LaTisha," or whatever.
    Who knew gender was such a fraught issue in middle school?


    Posted by: Didaskalos | Aug 26, 2011 1:52:31 PM

  6. If you're gay, you lose and, too often, end up dead. Either you get murdered for being different or you commit suicide after being bullied to your breaking point.

    Posted by: Hue-Man | Aug 26, 2011 1:54:31 PM

  7. So he snapped "moments before the shooting." And pulled out a gun. That--what-- was just in his bag by coincidence? Gosh, I'm angry and-- oh, my goodness-- what's this gun doing here?

    Yeah. Right.

    Seriously, if the defense wins this thing with this kind of bullsh*t, it's the biggest outrage in a GLBT-centered murder trial since the "Twinkie defense."

    And it will deserve the same kind of response.

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Aug 26, 2011 2:05:20 PM

  8. John -

    any theories about why Fox allowed the defense to present all of the evidence about McInerey's past in the guilt phase? It's clearly relevant in the sentencing phase but should be irrelevant given the objective standard for provocation in CA.

    Of course, I'm just guessing that Fox didn't fight it. She may have and the judge may have allowed it in to head off any appeals on the issue.

    Thanks in advance,

    Posted by: Chris | Aug 26, 2011 2:29:44 PM

  9. Have to admit that if this "gay panic" defense somehow flies, part of me wants something resembling hell to break loose. Probably wouldn't solve much, but hey...

    Posted by: Leo | Aug 26, 2011 3:33:50 PM

  10. I don't think the defence is claiming "gay panic". Rather, it is clear that a loathsome waste of space that chose to spend its time sexually harassing boys has been extinguished. This is hardly a crime. I mean, really.

    Posted by: Sense | Aug 26, 2011 4:06:54 PM

  11. "We're not saying Larry King is a terror, a bad kid,..."

    There is no "is" for Larry King anymore, he's dead, murdered in cold blood.

    Posted by: PDX Guy | Aug 26, 2011 5:21:41 PM

  12. The school was so afraid of being politically incorrect that it wouldn't stop Larry's inappropriate harassment. Everyone (teachers and students) admitted that Larry had gotten out of hand, but the vice-principal was supporting Larry’s choices at the expense of the other students. Not that any of this excuses what Brandon did, but the school knew they had a student with a very long and bad history of inappropriate sexual conduct and harassment of other. The school did nothing to protect the other students from Larry or Larry from himself. This was NOT simple flirting or finally standing up for himself on Larry’s part. This was Larry’s pattern that had gotten him arrested, expelled from other schools and removed from his home and put into a home for severely emotionally disturbed children. None of Larry’s medical and psychological history could be brought out in court because he was under 18. Larry was a VERY troubled and sick adolescent, and because no adult would step in...
    Yes, Brandon is responsable for what he did, but not foer what the D.A. made it into.

    Posted by: nodnis | Aug 26, 2011 6:30:55 PM

  13. These neo-Nazi, white supremacy gang affiliation, Gay Hate crime charges were all because the DA wants to become the next Nancy Gracy. Fox's entire theory has been proven wrong. The white supremacy items that the prosecution confiscated were from a house Brandon had NEVER been in, knew nothing about and had never seen before in his life. Their “so called” expert witness has no credentials and used wikipedia as his main resources. Think about it; a bunch of surfers organizing a gang? Any surfers I have ever known have cared only about 2 things, waves and getting stoned. Brandon had gay, lesbian, hispanic and african american friends, why didn't shoot he shoot them too? The sole purpose of these larger than life charges are to grab headlines… and anyone who still believes that this is a hate crime or that it is right for Brandon to be in an adult court room is supporting bigotry at it’s worst, just so the DA can get her 15 minutes…
    …at Brandon and Larry's expense.

    Posted by: nodnis | Aug 26, 2011 6:50:29 PM

  14. King was murdered because of the way society taught Brandon how life should be. But Brandon knew better and still chose to kill King. It's murder no two ways about it.

    And sense, your comment is about as dumb as can be, typical racist bigotted homophob comment around.

    Posted by: macmantoo | Aug 28, 2011 9:27:01 PM

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