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Brandon McInerney will be retried in shooting of gay classmate

October 5, 2011 | 10:06 am

Brandon McInerney, left, was 14 when he shot gay classmate Larry King, right

Ventura County prosecutors decided Wednesday to retry a former middle school student who shot a gay classmate, maintaining that the incident was a premeditated murder despite doubts by some jurors who deadlocked in the case.

Prosecutors said they will retry Brandon McInerney as an adult but will drop a hate crime allegation, which some legal experts say made it harder for them to win a conviction. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Nov. 21 to discuss whether the case should be moved out of Ventura County like the first trial, which was held in Chatsworth in Los Angeles County.

McInerney’s defense attorneys filed a motion under seal asking that Judge Charles Campbell be removed from the case.

During the brief hearing in Ventura County Superior Court, three jurors from the first trial attended and wore “Save Brandon” bracelets.

McInerney, who was 14 at the time of the killing, would face up to life in prison if he were convicted as an adult. In the juvenile system, even convicted murderers are typically released at 25.

Jurors in the first trial said they were deadlocked on a verdict, with seven favoring a voluntary manslaughter conviction and five pushing for first- or second-degree murder. One juror told the Associated Press that they had difficulty accepting the fact that McInerney was being tried as an adult.

Laurie Levenson, a Loyola Law School professor and former federal prosecutor, said she believes jurors thought the charges were too harsh.

"Jurors felt prosecutors overcharged and they were clearly not comfortable putting the boy away for life," she said.


No second trial in murdered gay teen case, gay rights group urges

A second trial in gay slaying case could be risky, former D.A. says

--Catherine Saillant in Ventura

Photo: Brandon McInerney, left, was 14 when he shot gay classmate Larry King, right.