Teen in Gay Murder Case Gets 21 Years

Brandon McInerney reaches plea deal

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 22, 2011 12:29 PM CST

(Newser) – A California teen will go to prison for 21 years for shooting his gay classmate to death in a middle school computer lab in 2008. The plea deal was reached yesterday; in Brandon McInerney’s first trial, the jury deadlocked. In order to avoid a second trial, McInerney, now 17, pleaded guilty to second-degree and voluntary manslaughter, and prosecutors agreed not to pursue another trial—which could have potentially landed McInerney a life sentence. The father of victim Larry King said the family supports the deal, but still places blame at the feet of school officials.

Administrators were aware of growing conflicts between King, who liked to flirt with boys, and male students on campus; teachers were asked in a memo to report any safety concerns. But the teachers who testified said when they attempted to report tension, they were rebuffed by school leaders, the Los Angeles Times reports. King’s mother, Dawn, also revealed yesterday that she had asked officials for help “containing” Larry’s behavior just days before his death, because she feared “something serious was going to happen”—but she was also turned away.

Defense attorney Scott Wippert right, hugs private investigator, Kathryn Lestelle outside court where a mistrial was declared in a gay student murder trial, Sept. 1, 2011 in Chatsworth, Calif.
Defense attorney Scott Wippert right, hugs private investigator, Kathryn Lestelle outside court where a mistrial was declared in a gay student murder trial, Sept. 1, 2011 in Chatsworth, Calif.   (AP Photo/Thomas Watkins)
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