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Boy accused of killing gay classmate bragged he had guns at home, police say

July 20, 2009 |  1:24 pm

Oxnard junior high school student Brandon McInerney bragged that he had guns at home if he ever wanted to kill someone, a police investigator testified at the youth's pretrial hearing today in Ventura County Superior Court.

McInerney made the comment to another student at E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard sometime before walking into the classroom and allegedly gunning down gay classmate Larry King on the morning of Feb. 12, 2008, said Oxnard police Sgt. Kevin Baysinger.

“Brandon said if he ever wanted to kill anybody, his dad had a bunch of guns and he had the capability,” Baysinger told the court. Other witness testified that McInerney, then 14, and King had been feuding over King's alleged romantic overtures toward McInerney.

McInerney was clearly irritated after King, 15, reportedly said, “Baby, I love you,” the day before the shooting occurred, based on interviews with students. Other students reported similar threats, he said.

McInerney reportedly told one of King's friends the day before the shooting, “Tell Larry goodbye because you're not going to see him again,” Baysinger said. Other students reported similar threats, he said.

The testimony came during the first day of a pretrial hearing to determine whether the case should go to trial.

Prosecutor Maeve Fox laid out a history of conflict between the boys and McInerney’s threats. She brought Ventura County Medical Examiner Ronald O’Halloran to the stand to describe the two bullet wounds to King's head. One bullet entered near the base of the boy's neck, the other went into his skull, he said, describing starkly clinical autopsy photos on a stand next to him.

Defense attorney Scott Wippert sought to show that King provoked violence by taunting McInerney with his effeminate dress and romantic pursuit. At one point, Wippert sharply questioned Oxnard police Officer Ramiro Albarran.

“Did you inquire if Larry King was making sexual advances toward McInerney … you do realize he’s charged with first-degree murder? That he was provoked?" Wippert said.

Testimony is expected to resume this afternoon.

-- Catherine Saillant