In Plea Deal, Brandon McInerney Agrees to 21-Year Prison Term for Lawrence King’s Murder


Brandon McInerney, whose first trial for the 2008 murder of his gay classmate Larry King ended in a mistrial, has agreed to a plea deal in which he will spend the next 21 years in prison. McInerney pleaded guilty to second degree murder and voluntary manslaughter with use of weapon.

The L.A. Times reports:

KingBrandon McInerney, who was 14 when he pulled a gun out of his backpack and shot Larry King twice in the head in 2008, has already served nearly four years in jail and would be released by the time he is 38, under terms of the deal.

"Larry had a complicated life, but he did not deserve to be murdered," the youth's father, Larry King, said after a court hearing Monday afternoon.

McInerney’s first trial ended with jurors split between convicting him of voluntary manslaughter and first-degree murder. Several of the jurors have since spoken in favor of a plea bargain, in order to avoid a second trial.

The Ventura County Star adds:

The sentencing was set for Dec. 19. The judge stayed sentencing on the second degree murder trial, meaning the 21-year sentence was for the voluntary manslaughter charge only. He does not get credit for the time he already has served, and he will not get time off for good behavior.

McInerney was set to be tried again as an adult, and prosecutors had already dropped a hate crime charge.


  1. Paul R says

    I’ll probably get hated for this, but it seems like a fair deal. The kid’s life is wrecked forever, as it was likely to be given his upbringing. I’m not excusing premeditated murder, but he’ll get out at 38 and have no prospects. If he actually lives to 38.

  2. Pedigru says

    I’m not sure how he’ll be received in prison. Hailed as a hero for murdering a faggot or scorned as a child murderer?

    I notice there’s no mention of parole in any of the stories I could find online.

  3. Zlick says

    Yeah, I’m pretty ok with this, too. I’m still a little shocked a case like this would have a hung jury who toyed with this being involuntary manslaughter, as if there were no such thing as murder – so I’d rather this than the shot at a second trial with a potential jury of idiots.

  4. Spudger says

    Sigh. Everything about this whole situation was wrong. I feel like ther is no real winner here. Justice perhaps, but I still cant feel that if someone had been able to save Brandon, we could have saved Larry.

    In an ideal world, prison would rehabilitate Brandon, un-teach him the hate he internalized so deeply from his family, that drove him to make the wrong decisions. But unfortunately he will probably only have his racism and homophobia reenforced by prison societies.

    Be satisfied with Justice, but don’t cheer. There’s nothing to cheer about.

  5. Yeek says

    Believe me, he is definitely not going to do all that time. This is a way for the prosecutor to look good and to get McInerery a fast-track towards early release (time off for good behavior and all). The prosecution didn’t stand a great chance after one mistrial, so they came up with a compromise that makes them look good. His attorneys would not have taken this deal if it wasn’t a sweet one.

  6. Davelandia says

    Ron – whether or not Larry King was a predator or a bully isn’t the issue here. The fact is, he didn’t deserve to be murdered in cold blood no matter what.

    Given the last mistrial – I am very surprised to see this plea agreement, but its not the first time I’ve seen the justice system working behind the scenes like this. The prosecutor gets the 2nd degree murder conviction – but he gets sentenced on the lesser charge.

    He’ll do all the time. Its in the stipulations.

    Whether or not its enough – debatable – but at least, its some justice no matter how small.

  7. Kevin says

    I don’t care if you’re 18, 50, 14 or 8. Pre-meditated and lying-in-wait is first degree murder, even if you are a mentally diabled, blind mute with no arms and no legs. 21 years? A slap on the wrist. And now, the thing he most detests, will be right there in his face every night.

  8. ian says

    the whole thing is just too sad. Two boys lost, one dead the other imprisoned for a very long time who will never have a normal productive life no matter what. It’s an object lesson in the destructiveness of hate; everyone loses.

  9. facts says

    If you look at the sentencing guidelines for first degree murder in California, this is a particularly strong sentence.

    If I am reading the chart right, the typical time served for first degree murder is 25 years in CA. He’s getting 21 not including 3 years already served, which comes about 24.

    Not really sure what more could have been done here as far as sentencing beyond the never-was-going-to-happen for an underage offender idea of life without parole or the death penalty.

  10. Alex says

    I am satisfied with 21 years. His entire young life will be taken from him. It is punishment enough. He was 14 years old when he committed the crime. He was just a baby. I am not excusing it. My heart weeps for Larry King. But for God’s sake let us show some mercy and realize that this boy’s life is also now ruined forever. He will pay for his crime with nearly half his life in jail, and the second half, a grown man with no education, no life experience, no familiarity with the fastly changing world around him. I am satisfied with this deal, though it makes me feel sick all the same.

  11. AnonJack says

    There is no justice when a beautiful child dies at the hand of a child taught to hate instead of love. The sentence is fair, but two children born beautiful as God made them, are loat forever into their own versions of darkness. That depresses me beyond measure. RIP, Larry.

  12. kyle Michel Sullivan says

    And nothing happens to the adults who facilitated this tragedy, from those at school that let it happen to whoever let him have access to a pistol. All that happens is the worms come out of the woodwork to blame the victim in their usual vile ways.

  13. Patrick says

    Children learn what they live.
    Two lives have been destroyed by parents’ hate speech and abuse.
    Brandon MsInerney should have been tried as a child.
    The one part of the story which has me very troubled is from where did he get the gun to do this horrible crime?

  14. jimsur212 says

    What justice is going to be accomplished by 21 years that would not have been accomplished in 15 or even 10? In the U.S. we imprison too many people for too long a period of time. We have 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of its prisoners. I recently saw a French film where a job applicant told a prospective employer that he just got out of prison. When the employer asked how long he was in for and he answered 10 years, a look of shock came over the employer’s face and he said, “My God, who did you kill?” Only in America, among democratic nations is 10 years considered getting off easy. While some murders deserve life without parole, in this case I think 10 years would have been sufficient punishment. For child-on-child crime, I think anything longer is not justice, just revenge.

  15. Eric Payne says

    Under California law, McInery will be eligible for parole in a little over 10 years; it used to be an automatic release (on half-time), but as a result of the Polly Klaas case, where Richard Allan Davis had only been out of prison a few weeks before abducting and killing Klaas, for certain crimes, there is no guarantee of half-time. He will become eligible for parole in 2017 (he gets credit for the time he’s already servied). If he is not paroled in 2017, he will be eligible for parole every year after that… but will max out at his 3/4 mark, in 2022.

  16. Stephen Q says

    Hey will be filled with even MORE hate when he gets out. He will be a hero and be protected in prison from the rapist by other white supremacists. They will take him under their wing and mold him into something worse than he is now. He will come out tattooed and ready to reek havok. If he is put in prison….he needs to STAY there. Sad to see a young life ruined so young….but some things in life are actually this tragic.

  17. Rin says

    If the courts say “no parole” which they did, there will be no early release even if the regulatory guidance suggests so. They can only play around if its a misdemeanor. This also said “no time served”.

  18. Fenrox says

    Guys, Ron doesn’t exist.

    Also, awesome to see so many reasonable comments!

    I am ok with 21 years, I would be ok with less if he understands what he did and makes amends. If i could distill my ultimate hope for this situation it is for Brandon to get over his hatred of gay people, and to find peace in his life in making amends for the murder he committed. I don’t care if that happens in prison or outside , as long as it happens.

  19. jakeinlove says

    Wow, was it me or was this the quietest thing that happened in this whole case? 21 years wow. Hopefully there will be some counseling or therapy, but knowing our prison systems he’ll just come out more integrated with the race culture that is personified there.

  20. MichaelJ says

    @Fenrox: Amen. After reading all the calls on JoeMyGod’s blog calling for McInerey’s execution, it is comforting to read the preponderance of reasonable comments here.

  21. says

    May he get a considerable amount of in in-depth psychological help while locked up. He was made into a monster. He was failed by society and his family and became a cancer. King is dead because society failed not only him, but also McInerney.

    may we, as a culture, learn more about the factors that made McInerney what he became so that we can work harder to prevent things like this from happening again.

  22. Resyn says

    Has anyone read about the taunting that Brandon endured from Larry? This is about Larry deliberately trying to humiliate Brandon on an almost daily basis and instead of trying to put a stop to it and help Brandon, they were too afraid to step on Larry’s civil rights…. What is a 14 year old child to do when he has been raised around violence and those that should have gotten Larry under control and put an end to the (yes I am going to call it this) Abuse that Brandon was enduring did not do it because Larry was gay. This is one of those cases where it’s the exact opposite of what usually happens. Larry was not the one who was being bullied by Brandon. Brandon was the one being bullied. He did what he had learned to do from his abusive father and drug addict mother. No one in that school helped him. This is nothing but a preventable tragedy for all concerned. Larry did not deserve to die but Brandon did not deserve to be humiliated day after day in front of his friends either.

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