Mistrial possible in gay student slaying case
A judge has ordered jurors in the high-profile murder case of an Oxnard teen accused of shooting a gay classmate to keep deliberating even though they have been unable to reach a verdict despite repeated votes, The Times has learned.
The judge has indicated a mistrial is a possibility.
Jurors in the case, in which Brandon McInerney is accused of fatally shooting 15-year-old Larry King in the middle of a junior high school computer lab, were ordered to continue deliberating until 2 p.m., when the judge will meet with them and determine whether to order a mistrial, according to Ken Corbett, a professor of psychology at New York University who has sat through all the proceedings.
A mistrial would bring to a close a trial that has been followed closely by gay-rights groups that have fought hard to protect gay and transgendered students from campus bullying. But as the weeks of testimony rolled on and a more nuanced portrait emerged of what was happening at E.O. Green Junior High in the weeks before the shooting, it also raised a host of thorny questions.
The prosecution says it was a calculated murder carried out in part because McInerney was exploring white supremacist ideology and didn't like homosexuals.
Defense attorneys painted a different picture, that of a bright but abused 14-year-old who snapped after being sexually harassed by King.
The jury began deliberating Friday, weighing eight weeks of testimony in a trial that included nearly 100 witnesses. Many of those testifying were students and teachers at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard who saw tensions on campus rising after King began coming to school dressed in makeup and girl's boots.
-- Catherine Saillant in Chatsworth
Photo: Brandon McInerney, left, and Larry King. Credit: Los Angeles Times / E. O. Green Jr. High School 2006-2007 yearbook