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Boy who killed gay classmate deserves leniency, jurors say

October 6, 2011 |  5:30 am


Several jurors who deadlocked last month in the case of a former middle school student accused of killing his gay classmate said prosecutors should significantly reduce charges against the boy.

They said they didn't believe Brandon McInerney killed Larry King because the boy was gay and urged that he be tried in Juvenile Court instead of as an adult.

"Brandon got a raw deal,'' said juror Nancy Shulman.

She and two other jurors stood in the audience Wednesday during a hearing where prosecutors said they will retry McInerney as an adult for first-degree murder but drop the key allegation that the crime was motivated by a hatred of homosexuals. The jurors wore light-blue rubber bracelets stamped "Free Brandon" and said they were there to support McInerney.

McInerney was 14 when he carried a .22-caliber handgun to school in a backpack on Feb. 12, 2008, took a seat behind King, 15, and shot him twice in the back of the head.  Prosecutors portrayed McInerney as a budding white supremacist who hated homosexuals and was enraged by King's sexuality and aggressive flirtations.

One juror, identified only as Lisa S. because she did not want her whole name used, said many jurors came to believe that King was bullying McInerney by making unwanted sexual advances.

"This wasn't about him being gay,'' she said. "This was about bullying. There was a ton of evidence that Larry was acting inappropriately with other kids at school, and they didn't do anything to stop him."

As for the new case, she added: "It was overcharged and an abuse of power, and I don't think a new jury will see it any different."


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-- Catherine Saillant

Photo: Brandon McInerney, left, and Larry King

Credit: Los Angeles Times