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Gay student 'executed for who he was,' D.A. tells jurors

August 25, 2011 |  3:07 pm

Larry King memorial 
It’s natural to feel sympathy for youthful murder defendant Brandon McInerney, who grew up in a home so violent and dysfunctional that he wasn’t even allowed to cry after his father punched him in the face. But the law does not allow for sympathy, prosecutor Maeve Fox told jurors Thursday during closing arguments in the teenager’s trial.

Emotionally the case is a “tragedy on all levels,” Fox told the packed courtroom, but factually McInerney’s fatal shooting of a gay classmate during a junior high school computer lab can be nothing less than first-degree, she said.

McInerney is accused of shooting Larry King point-blank in the head, dropping his weapon to the floor and walking out of a stunned Ventura County classroom in 2008. McInerney was 14 at the time; King was a year older.

Fox told jurors in the murder case that McInerney became angry after King said either “love you baby!” or “what’s up, baby!” in a school corridor, expressions that were directed at McInerney. So angry, Fox said, that he told a friend that he was going to bring a gun to school to next day.

But rather than cool off, Fox said, McInerney packed a .22 in his backpack the next morning and pulled out the weapon during a first-period class and shot King twice in the back of the head. That constitutes premeditated murder, the Ventura County prosecutor said.

Any other arguments by the defense – that McInerney was provoked into the shooting by King’s aggressive flirtations or that he had endured a hellish childhood – are smokescreens, Fox said.

“No amount of revisionist history and attempts to paint Larry King as some kind of predator can ever change the fact of what occurred in this case. That is: Larry King was executed for who he was.”

Fox’s closing comments in the eight-week murder trial -- which was moved to Chatsworth because of pre-trial publicity -- also sought to downplay the impact of damaging testimony given by several teachers at the Oxnard junior high. The teachers testified that King’s dress and teasing behavior was causing tensions but that the administration failed to do anything about it.

The defense has yet to present its closing arguments.

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--Catherine Saillant, from Chatsworth

Photo: Irma Garcia and daughter Jocelynn visit a memorial for slain student Larry King at an Oxnard junior high school. Credit: Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times

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