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Father of accused teen in gay classmate shooting found dead

March 18, 2009 |  2:00 pm

William McInerney The father of an Oxnard teenager accused of gunning down a gay classmate who was romantically attracted to him has been found dead, Ventura County authorities said today.

Bill McInerney, 45, was found shortly before 8 a.m. in the living room of his Silver Strand home by a friend, said James Baroni, Ventura County’s chief deputy medical examiner. The friend was supposed to drive him to a court hearing in his son’s murder trial, Baroni said.

McInerney’s 15-year-old son, Brandon, is accused of murder and a hate crime in the Feb. 12, 2008, shooting death of classmate Lawrence “Larry” King, 15. The two boys had been sparring in the days before the killing, allegedly because Larry had expressed a romantic interest in Brandon.

Brandon McInerney is being tried as an adult and was scheduled to begin a preliminary hearing today to determine if there is enough evidence to move to a trial, officials said. That hearing was postponed.

Baroni said there was no sign of foul play or suicide at the father’s home. An autopsy is underway, and a cause of death should be available later today, the deputy medical examiner said.

“Nothing at the scene was a red flag,” he said.

Court records show that the elder McInerney was facing recent felony charges of making criminal threats against his sister, Maura McInerney. He also was charged with possessing a firearm within 10 years of a domestic violence conviction, records show.

The local blogosphere exploded on news of the father’s untimely death. King’s killing has spurred heated debate in Ventura County about whether it is appropriate to try Brandon McInerney as an adult.

“Please pray for Brandon McInerney and his family, AS WELL as the family of Larry King,” said one commenter to a story about Bill McInerney’s death in the Ventura County Star.

“Karma is coming around for Brandon early,” said another.

-- Catherine Saillant

Photo: William McInerney leaves the U.S. Superior Court in Ventura on August 7, 2008 after the arraignment of his son Brandon McInerney, 14, for murder in the shooting death of Lawrence (Larry) King.

Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times