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Teen who killed gay classmate is mentally preparing for prison

The attorney for the teenager who pleaded guilty Monday to killing his gay classmate said his client is mentally preparing himself for years in prison.

Brandon McInerney, who was 14 when he pulled a gun out of his backpack and shot 15-year-old Larry King twice in the head in 2008, has already served nearly four years in jail and would be released by the time he is 38 under terms of the deal.

He will be transferred from Ventura County Juvenile Hall to state prison when he turns 18 in January. 

“Now he has a date he can circle on his calendar,” said defense attorney Scott Wippert.

McInenery’s family left the courtroom without comment. Throughout the proceedings, his mother, Kendra, and her son James held hands. Kendra lowered head and sobbed as Brandon –- who has rarely been heard in the courtroom  -- said “guilty” to the two charges.

Greg King, the victim’s father, said he believes that “justice is served” by the sentence.

“Twenty-one years is a long time,” said King, accompanied at the hearing in Chatsworth by his wife, Dawn; his son Rocky and other family members.

McInerney’s first trial ended with jurors split on convicting him of voluntary manslaughter and first-degree murder. Several have since spoken in favor of a plea bargain,to avoid a second trial.

In initially deciding to try McInerney a second time, prosecutors had already dropped a key allegation that the shooting was motivated by a hatred of homosexuals, an accusation that several jurors in the original trial said they did not believe.

During that trial, prosecutors portrayed McInerney as a budding white supremacist who hated homosexuals and was enraged by King's sexuality and aggressive flirtations.

The defense argued that McInerney was the product of a violent and dysfunctional home and had reached an emotional breaking point in response to King's advances.

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--Catherine Saillant

 
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