UPDATE: Prosecutors Will Seek New Trial in Killing of Gay Middle Schooler

The case against Brandon McInerney, who shot and killed a 15-year-old gay fellow student named Larry King execution-style before an entire classroom, is not over. A judge declared a mistrial this week after a jury couldn't agree on the degree of murder charges to find against McInerney. But now prosecutors are pushing for a new trial

King The LA Times, however, reports that McInerney could still get away scot-free. A new trial, if it happens at all, is going to be hard to win: 

“These are extremely difficult cases,” said Michael Bradbury, the longtime district attorney in Ventura County.

“The public may see a straightforward murder case, but this case is far more complex, firstly, because of the age of the defendant at the time of the act and, secondly, the manner in which he was raised by his parents, which was clearly dysfunctional and by all accounts horrific,” Bradbury said.

The prosecutors' may have made a mistake by trying to get McInerney convicted as an adult. One of the defense attorneys said they had "overreached." It seems that's part of a pattern

The district attorney's office was criticized in a report last month released by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice that showed cases involving youths under the age of 15 are nearly 14 times more likely to be tried in adult court than anywhere else in California.

Now, prosecutors will decide whether to try him as an adult again.

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  1. It has always seemed to me that trying a 15-year old as an adult is usually inappropriate. Here's a perfect example of why...

    Posted by: Rob | Sep 3, 2011 10:53:02 AM


  2. Maybe it would have been better to accept some sort of plea bargain.

    Posted by: Karl | Sep 3, 2011 11:01:18 AM


  3. Time in a juvie facility? So he be out, after seeing a shrink,in time for 18th birthday?

    Posted by: M. Scott Hernandez | Sep 3, 2011 11:37:00 AM


  4. Let me see if I understand the message this jury has sent us at a time when we have been trying to elevate the awareness of the problem of bullying in our schools. If one has had an horrific upbringing, then one can premeditate the murder of a gay class mate, claim that it is his fault, that he sexually harassed you, then one is set free.

    In the mind of a teenager, of a homophobe, of a bully, this is a recipe on how to bully and murder a gay classmate, and get away with it. Do not think for one moment that somewhere down the line that another kid, family background very much like Brandon McInerney, won't say to himself: that Brandon kid got away with it, so all I have to do is kill the little queer, say it is the fault of my upbringing and the queer. No problem!

    So we are to be a society that allows people to premeditate murder because they had terrible mommies and daddies? This kid should have gone away, and if there is ample proof that his parents actively fostered the type of environment that produced a kid capable of murder, then laws need to be enacted that can prosecute parents and put them in prison as well.

    This kid executed a classmate. He shot Larry King at point blank range, not once, but twice. For all those bleeding hearts who have forgotten that another boy, also horrifically raised, was executed in a class in the United States of America, who are so worried for his murderer, I have news for you. Brandon McInerney is gone. Anyone who could cold-bloodedly plan and care out an execution, feel no remorse, is gone. We have not heard the last of Brandon. We will have the great dis-pleasure, one day, of reading how he killed someone else he did not like.

    Posted by: Ricco | Sep 3, 2011 12:10:29 PM


  5. Fortunately Orange County is an aberration in CA in many, many ways.

    Posted by: Paul R | Sep 3, 2011 12:32:30 PM


  6. Or it's that men can't be hit on. Is a child dead? Was he shot? Were there any witnesses? Did the alleged perp pull the trigger? Done and done. It should be straight-forward. If a woman was receiving unwanted sexual attention and then killed whoever it was who was doing that to her then she'd go to jail because you can't do that. But in the land of the Twinkies-defense and "gay" panic, the jury feels that the alleged murderer was within his "rights". Casey Anthony and now this it's incredulous

    Posted by: Chris | Sep 3, 2011 1:03:24 PM


  7. Or it's that men can't be hit on. Is a child dead? Was he shot? Were there any witnesses? Did the alleged perp pull the trigger? Done and done. It should be straight-forward. If a woman was receiving unwanted sexual attention and then killed whoever it was who was doing that to her then she'd go to jail because you can't do that. But in the land of the Twinkies-defense and "gay" panic, the jury feels that the alleged murderer was within his "rights". Casey Anthony and now this it's incredulous

    Posted by: Chris | Sep 3, 2011 1:03:24 PM


  8. He is going to walk away free & AFA will claim open season for the death of gay people in a Biblical fashion.

    Posted by: Skooter McGoo | Sep 3, 2011 1:17:01 PM


  9. I still fail to see why any of this is even an issue. He killed someone in cold blood. Thats murder, and it was premeditated. He thought about it, he brought a gun, he told his friends he was going to do it, he endangered the rest of the kids in the classroom where he did it, not to mention how the experience must have traumatized his classmates who will never be able to erase that event from their heads.

    So what how he was raised? So what how old he was? So what if he was freaking out because a gay kid made a pass at him? He still murdered someone. Period. What does any of the rest of it have to do with anything?

    I just don't get how this could be anything but an open and shut case.

    Posted by: Davelandia | Sep 3, 2011 1:35:59 PM


  10. Society always rushes to the aide of the bully.

    That's what's going on here. A big fat crying towel for poor defenseless liitle Brandon. He had it so tough you see. Lawrence King? He was a smart-assed little faggot that deserved to die.

    That's the way it works folks.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Sep 3, 2011 1:43:28 PM


  11. THIS IS THE PROSECUTOR TALKING????:

    “The public may see a straightforward murder case, but this case is far more complex, firstly, because of the age of the defendant at the time of the act and, secondly, the manner in which he was raised by his parents, which was clearly dysfunctional and by all accounts horrific,” Bradbury said.

    Yikes! Sounds exactly like the defense attorney's case. That's the kind of "justice" gay people can expect in this society. Homophobia is so much a part of society that even a law-and-order prosecutor is foundering in his argument that "this is a straight-forward murder case". Because that's exactly what it is.
    If a girl had been "harassing" this little straight punk in the same way, and he blew her head off, I can guarantee you that the jury would have convicted him and thrown away the key. The jury, and even the prosecutor are obviously intensely homophobic, but I think they're typical of society at large. Stay vigilant. And do not trust straight people, ever!

    Posted by: dancobbb | Sep 3, 2011 1:46:25 PM


  12. THIS IS THE PROSECUTOR TALKING????:

    “The public may see a straightforward murder case, but this case is far more complex, firstly, because of the age of the defendant at the time of the act and, secondly, the manner in which he was raised by his parents, which was clearly dysfunctional and by all accounts horrific,” Bradbury said.

    Yikes! Sounds exactly like the defense attorney's case.

    Well, by all means then, let the guy go!

    Posted by: dancobbb | Sep 3, 2011 1:47:13 PM


  13. If you are young, white, and straight you are entitled to a fair trial. If you also happen take it upon yourself as a straight white man, to pass judgement and cowardly blow off someone's head from behind, then you must have been a victim. This is what this case says.

    He was old enough to premeditate murder. He's old enough to be sentenced for premeditated murder.

    Are we to be afraid of "unknowing" 14 and 15 year olds who want to blow our heads off? And as school aged children, younger and younger, bring guns to school or carry them, we are left to wander among potential murderers who don't know the difference, yet know to carry a gun?

    Posted by: benjamin | Sep 3, 2011 1:58:24 PM


  14. If a 15 year old has sex he is a child who is not capable of making an adult decision. But if the same teen murders someone he suddenly becomes an adult who is fully responsible for his actions. The brain does develop at one rate for sex and another rate for crime. It is appalling how the same 15 year old can be looked upon as a child or an adult based on how the situation emotionally suits us.

    Charging minors as adults is wrong. Period.

    Posted by: jimsur212 | Sep 3, 2011 2:30:33 PM


  15. I don't understand why people here keep saying the jury didn't think McInerney was guilty or that they wanted to let him off scot-free. All 12 of the people on that jury thought he was guilty and thought he should go to jail - the difference of opinion was between the jurors who wanted to send him to jail for only 20+ years and the ones who wanted to send him to jail for 50+ years. That's what caused the mistrial.

    The question on a re-trial is, can the prosecution seat 12 jurors who are all comfortable sending a teenager to jail for 50 years for a crime he committed when he was 14, especially when he had a horrifically abusive upbringing providing what amounts to a de facto argument for diminished capacity? Because if even one juror feels sorry enough for McInerney that s/he can't stomach voting for first-degree murder, then they end up with another mistrial - and remember, the defense is trying to seat as many jurors as possible who will be likely to have exactly those feelings and trying to exclude as many jurors as possible who will take a harsher view of McInerney's degree of responsibility. What if the next jury contains people who will demand an acquital? This might have been the "best" jury the prosecutors could hope to get, and what then?

    Given the fact that this is a jury trial with both sides influencing the jury selection, what would you all do if you were the DA?

    Posted by: Sancho | Sep 3, 2011 2:59:45 PM


  16. If I were the D.A. I'd make sure no "Christian" was seated on the jury.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Sep 3, 2011 3:38:44 PM


  17. Trying him as a juvenile would have meant he would be released when he was 25 years old. The prosecutors did the right thing trying him as an adult. Hopefully, on retrial, they will find a jury willing to apply the law based on the law and facts - not the defendant's age - as instructed by the judge (and as they promised during jury selection).

    Posted by: John | Sep 3, 2011 3:47:21 PM


  18. I don't think any 14-year-old should be tried as an adult for anything, even if he killed his parents. In this case, the killer was 14, the victim was 15.

    Even if the killer had been 15, I would still say he should be tried in juvenile court. No other civilized country in the world tries 14-year-olds as adults. For anything!

    Posted by: Ninong | Sep 3, 2011 4:37:12 PM


  19. @John - in that case, your real complaint should be against the judge. Just as you say, the jury's job is to apply the law and facts as instructed by the judge - but in this case, the judge allowed manslaughter as a legitimate possible verdict within the context of the facts of the case, and he instructed the jury so. Therefore, those jurors who supported a manslaughter conviction were applying the law in a manner determined by the trial judge as valid. They didn't break their oath.

    Posted by: Sancho | Sep 3, 2011 4:39:16 PM


  20. Brandon McInerney was 14 years old when he committed murder. He should be tried as a juvenile, since he still is in every legal definition of the word. He can't drink, he can't smoke, he can't drive a car, he can't sign a contract, he can't even join the military to do some legal killing.

    Trying a teenage boy as an adult is what they do in Iran...just before they hang them. If you want to align yourself with the scum who execute children for no more reason than they got caught fooling around with someone of the same sex, let alone found to have killed someone, then you're no better than the homophobic scum who perpetrate those state-sanctioned murders.

    Posted by: kyle Michel Sullivan | Sep 3, 2011 5:30:39 PM


  21. Thank you to all those who see that trying a child as an adult is a failure in so many ways.

    We all have monsters inside us (just read gay penned "Where the Wild Things Are again, if you've forgotten), but adults (are supposed to be) able to keep them better in check. And it is the JOB of the adults to civilize kids. What McInerney did was horribly and horrifying, but he was still only 15 and should tried and treated as such. The adults responsible for him should be tried.

    Posted by: David R. | Sep 3, 2011 5:57:13 PM


  22. He should be tried in juvey court. There's a misunderstanding of murder convictions in juvenile courts here. He won't be let out at 18, he'd be transferred to an adult prison. He would be more likely to earn parole, but all murderers are entitled to earn parole and that's a good thing because it encourages good behavior in prison.

    Posted by: anon | Sep 3, 2011 7:51:14 PM


  23. @anon. You are correct that he would not be let out at 18, but he WOULD be let out at 25. Juvie court is not appropriate given the facts and circumstances of this case.

    @kyle: Those are not the definitions of a juvenile for purposes related to how they should be charged. Agree or not, having been tried in an adult court the jury may not ignore the law and make their own determination whether the DA's decision was appropriate. Given that McInerney executed Larry King and a juvie court conviction would result in his being released at 25 - i repeat 25 - i can not accept that he should have been tried in juvie court.

    @sancho. My problem is not with the judge. If he had not allowed manslaughter, he would almost certainly have been overturned on appeal. Manslaughter did not allow the jury to consider his age, and the jury was instructed by the judge that they may not consider the age of the defendant.

    Posted by: John | Sep 3, 2011 8:15:19 PM


  24. "We all have mosnters inside of us"

    SPEAK FOR YOURSELF, KAPO!!!!!

    "Lying in wait" triggers charing the creep as adult. That is THE LAW.

    If you want to change THE LAW then get busy.
    Maybe you'd like to sponsor a Voter Initiative and have it on the next ballot.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Sep 3, 2011 8:31:27 PM


  25. I'm interested to see how many posters here really don't believe in jury trials as a fundamental principle, or at least not under certain circumstances.

    After all, if our goal were a strict, objective application of the law, then wouldn't an experienced judge, or a panel of judges, apply the law to the facts of a case better than any jury of lay people ever could? Those judges would also be accountable for their verdicts, which juries are not, and I suspect that Brandon McInerney would have been found guilty in a bench trial.

    But we don't do bench trials - instead, even people accused of horrible crimes have the right to be judged by a lay jury who do not have to justify their votes to anyone. Clearly, the system is *intended* on some level to make the objectivity of law and the facts themselves subordinate to the human subjectivity of the those twelve jurors - otherwise we would want guilt and innocence decided by trained legal minds. And nearly everyone has at one time or another applauded when a jury has chosen to free someone who is indisputably guilty of breaking laws but whose circumstances made people want to see them exonerated (certain cases of gay political activism spring to mind here).

    I didn't like the mistrial, either. But if we believe in the principle of the jury system, especially in the US where the prosecution cannot appeal a jury's verdict, and if we want a jury to be able to free someone who is legally guilty (which it appears we sometimes do), we have to live with the primacy of subjectivity that's built into jury verdicts and accept this particular mistrial as part of that process.

    If we don't want to accept this mistrial, then we need to start lobbying for a constitutional amendment to strip people accused of certain crimes - hate crimes, for instance - of the right to a trial by jury.

    Posted by: Sancho | Sep 3, 2011 9:05:02 PM


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