On Monday, Brandon McInerney plead guilty to killing fellow eighth-grade classmate Larry King at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, near Los Angeles.
Along with the murder charge, the seventeen year-old also plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter and use of a firearm in connection with the slaying. McInerney will now face 21 years in prison in addition to the 4 years already served.
“I don’t think that 21-year sentence is justice for my son, but I understand the reality that was facing the DA of trying to convict a defendant who was 14 … when he committed the murder,” Greg King, the victims father told an ABC affiliate. He also told reporters that, “Larry had a complicated life, but he did not deserve to be murdered.”
The case has drawn world-wide attention and talk diva Ellen DeGeneres weighed in, appalled that gays and lesbians are still being treated like “second-class citizens.” According to reports, McInerney killed King “in a fit of rage” because he was offended by the gay teens attire and alleged advances by King. McInerney shot King twice in the back of the head in front of several other students as he sat at a computer.
“I knew, gut instinct, that something serious was going to happen,” the victims mother, Dawn, told reporters. “They should have contained him, contained his behavior.” Ms. King said she had contacted school officials in the days before the shooting, in an effort to “tone down” her son’s behavior.
Classmates had also heard McInerney threaten King in the days before the murder, according to the Associated Press.
At the first trial, jurors were unable to agree on McInerney’s level of guilt. Prosecutors had tried to tie McInerney to white supremacist beliefs after police had found Nazi-like drawings and paraphernalia in the suspects home. Lawyers for the Defense argued that their client broke down after several unwanted advances by the victim. The new trial had to be moved due to publicity, and prosecutors decided to take the plea bargain due to the uncertainty of a conviction in a second trial. Assistant DA Mike Frawley told reporters, “We took that into account and looked at what it would take to protect the community. “The total time in custody for 25 years will do that.”
McInerney’s sentencing is scheduled for December 19.