A jury came up empty yesterday in its attempt to decide the fate of a California teenager who shot a gay classmate in the head at point blank range. The judge declared a mistrial in the case of Brandon McInerney after the jury said it couldn't come to a unanimous decision on whether the slaying was murder or manslaughter. Seven jurors wanted to convict him of voluntary manslaughter, while five were set on first- or second-degree murder, the AP reports. Prosecutors must now decide whether to re-file charges.
According to prosecutors, McInerney, then 14, and his victim, 15-year-old Larry King, were in computer lab when McInerney took out a gun and shot him in the back of the head. McInerney then stood up and, in front of all his classmates, shot King in the head again. Prosecutors labeled it a premeditated hate crime—Nazi-inspired drawings were found in McInerney’s home, and he had threatened King before. The defense had argued that King provoked McInerney into a “heat-of-the-moment” killing by flirting with him, according to KTLA. McInerney was tried as an adult, and would have faced 53 years to life if convicted of first-degree murder.