Mistrial Declared in Trial of Lawrence King's Killer

UPDATE: The judge has declared a mistrial. Prosecutors must now decide whether to refile murder and hate crime charges, according to the AP. See earlier updates for details...

KingmcinerneyGLSEN released a statement following the announcement:

“The mistrial declared today is hardly a surprise," GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said. "This was always destined to be a case with little resolution and no winners, whatever the verdict. The central facts remain the same: homophobia killed Larry King and destroyed Brandon McInerney’s life, and adults failed both young men because of their own inability to deal forthrightly and compassionately with the multiple challenges they each faced. The jury’s indecision is a sad reflection of our collective inability to find common ground and invest in a better future for all youth and a culture of respect for all.”


A mistrial may be declared in the trial of Brandon McInerney, charged with shooting to death his gay classmate Lawrence King in 2008 in their Oxnard, California classroom, the L.A. Times reports:

A judge has ordered jurors in the high-profile murder case of an Oxnard teen accused of shooting a gay classmate to keep deliberating even though they have been unable to reach a verdict despite repeated votes, The Times has learned.

The judge has indicated a mistrial is a possibility...

...A mistrial would bring to a close a trial  that has been followed closely by gay-rights groups that have fought hard to protect gay and transgendered students from campus bullying.

The jury has been deliberating since Wednesday.

This afternoon they submitted questions to the judge, the Ventura County Star reports:

The jury in the Brandon McInerney murder trial submitted questions to the judge this afternoon.

What is a person of average disposition? And what is rationally — regarding a person acting rationally.

The defense team is researching some definitions that the prosecution proposed regarding a person of average disposition. The term rationally has not yet been defined.

Once the answers are determined, they will be sent back to the jury.

The two votes taken were 8-4 and 9-3. The forewoman said it's unlikely they'll come to a verdict.

As the trial closed, prosecutors in the trial 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.

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  1. I'm beyond outraged by this. Of all the cases I've followed in my life, this one is the ultimate slam dunk.

    What is average disposition? Are these jurors dumb or stupid?!

    Posted by: Stan L | Sep 1, 2011 5:45:28 PM

  2. I...I...*RAGE* How can there be a mistral, people saw him shoot his classmate.

    I better not hear another goddamned O.J. reference without this executioner being mentioned in the same sentence.

    Posted by: Polyboy | Sep 1, 2011 5:46:03 PM

  3. "And what is rationally - regarding a person acting rationally."

    "The term rationally has not yet been defined."

    WTF? Instant headache.


    ....will get back to you...

    Posted by: Leo | Sep 1, 2011 5:54:35 PM

  4. The phrase "All the defense needs is one juror" springs to mind here.

    Posted by: Sancho | Sep 1, 2011 5:56:45 PM

  5. I'd love for a gay murderer to use a "hetero panic" excuse.

    Posted by: Nate | Sep 1, 2011 5:57:14 PM

  6. Are you frelling kidding me?!?!?! The defendant TALKED about planning to kill Larry, brought a gun to school, and shot Larry execution-style in front of dozens of witnesses. WTF?

    I'm a little angry in suggesting this - but does anyone care to use the reaction to the Rodney King verdict as an example of what needs to be done if this MURDERER is let off?

    Posted by: Zlick | Sep 1, 2011 6:05:21 PM

  7. It's important to realize that this isn't an OJ Simpson "not guilty" verdict - some of the people on that jury ARE voting, and voting repeatedly, for conviction. That's why they're deadlocked.

    Posted by: Sancho | Sep 1, 2011 6:07:21 PM

  8. Sadly, this is exactly what I expected. A queer kid's life is worth nothing. Even a piece of trash like this child-killer is more important to a jury of his peers than the queer kid he executed.

    Posted by: ohplease | Sep 1, 2011 6:10:28 PM

  9. I say we start some riots if he is declared innocent. A la LA circa 92.

    Posted by: MItchblair | Sep 1, 2011 6:15:38 PM

  10. Gay lives don't count.

    Posted by: candideinnc | Sep 1, 2011 6:17:35 PM

  11. if McInerney was black and King white he'd have been found guilty of murder weeks ago and given the maximum sentence.

    what we have is a straight white boy who premeditated the murder of a classmate and the jury is struggling to figure which crime was worse - the premeditated murder or being a gender-nonconformist gay brown person.


    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Sep 1, 2011 6:26:58 PM

  12. I've been of the opinion that since the manslaughter charge was allowed by the judge, that the jury would eventually settle on that. I didn't have faith that twelve jurors could lay aside the "gay panic" defense and find the defendant guilty of first-degree murder.

    And my cynical side thought that would be okay... because the reality of people's prejudices made it nigh-impossible to convict of murder so manslaughter was better than nothing.

    But to hear that the jury is deadlocked makes me think that either a) there's a holdout(s) to the murder charge AND b) there's a person(s) strongly convinced that first-degree murder is the crime that they won't vote manslaughter; OR c) the jury has tossed out murder but can't decide on manslaughter.

    Posted by: TommyOC | Sep 1, 2011 6:31:57 PM

  13. @OHPLEASE it does seem that way, huh? With people like Santorum to Perkins saying gay people are "damaged" more of the same will happen.

    Posted by: Skooter McGoo | Sep 1, 2011 7:14:59 PM

  14. I'm in disbelief. Shocked, appalled, angered.

    Posted by: Charles Lemos | Sep 1, 2011 7:16:07 PM

  15. Brandon didn't like who Larry was, and he murdered him in premeditated cold blood; what could possibly be the hold-up here?

    Does this mean the next time a straight man talks to me about his sexual desires I can walk into his workplace, blow his head off and then get a mistrial? Absolutely disgusting!

    Like many others, I happen to think the WBC is despicable. But if I were on a jury for a murder case where one of their members had been shot in the same manner, I would have no problem whatsoever ruling in their favor as the facts are facts and a jury is supposed to be impartial and vote as such.

    I can only hope the holdup is because they can't decide on Murder or Manslaughter, as Not Guilty shouldn't even be an option.

    Otherwise I'd suggest the White Night Riots '11.

    Posted by: Lance | Sep 1, 2011 7:22:00 PM

  16. So what happens if its declared a mistrial? Is it re-tried?

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Sep 1, 2011 7:28:45 PM

  17. @BOBBYJOE: Read the following link as it pertains to possible outcomes of a mistrial in the state of California.


    Posted by: Marc C | Sep 1, 2011 7:49:08 PM

  18. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trial#Mistrials

    Posted by: Ryan | Sep 1, 2011 7:49:08 PM

  19. The jury was not hung up deciding between guilty and innocent, they were hung up on whether he was guilty of first degree murder, second degree murder or manslaughter

    Posted by: Pete | Sep 1, 2011 8:08:53 PM

  20. Im kinda ragefully pissed about this. Let a straight guy give me a sideways look over the next week, I'll cave his skull in, claim fear for my life due to past harrassment by straight males, and get off scott free.
    No riots...just targeted action, IMO.

    Posted by: JT | Sep 1, 2011 8:36:30 PM

  21. Is it possible they were deadlocked because some jurors thought it was manslaughter and some thought it was homicide?

    I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm conflicted about this case. It's clear to me that McInery murdered King but I hate to think of him being sentenced to 50 years to life. I want him to be sentenced to 18 years of living with my family so that he can redo his childhood and be raised right.

    As Eliza Byard said above, the adults in their lives failed both of these boys. I guess there are no do-overs in real life.

    Posted by: Mick | Sep 1, 2011 8:51:25 PM

  22. No consequenses for killing a gay kid, no riots will happen, no gay rage will be shown. We are powerless and valueless! Those who feel sorry for the kid who shot the gay kid, GET OVER IT! He is a killer and full of hate and NOTHING is going to make him a better person! He does not deserve pity OR a second chance. BUT he will get both since he is straight, white and christian!

    Posted by: Tristan Alexander | Sep 1, 2011 9:28:05 PM

  23. I'm glad I've been consistent in my criticism of this trial for a while now. Even from this distance it seems a circus of ineptitude. Both the defense and prosecutors seem to have just passed the bar exam. Free advice: try juvenile court for once and prosecute the case you can win rather than the one outside pressure groups want you to win. This should plead out to juvey murder three (or CA equivalent) before a second trial.

    Posted by: anon | Sep 1, 2011 9:38:23 PM

  24. Sadly I had a feeling it was going to be like this. Sick. :(

    Posted by: NSRob | Sep 1, 2011 10:41:03 PM

  25. Unbelievable. There is no justice for out gay youngsters. And spare me the concern for the murderer. Someone needs to square things, if you know what I mean.

    Posted by: Charley | Sep 1, 2011 11:04:47 PM

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