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Mistrail Declared in Larry King Murder Trial

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A judge declared a mistrial in the case of Brandon McInerney, who was accused of killing 15-year-old Larry King at their junior high school in 2008. Judge Charles Campbell declared the mistrial after jurors were unable to reach a verdict, deadlocking at 7 to 5 in favor of finding McInerney guilty of voluntary manslaughter. To reach a verdict, the jury would have had to reach a unanimous conclusion.

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No, the problem wasn't that he was tried as an adult; the problem was that they couldn't decide between a 1st-degree murder conviction or a manslaughter conviction. All of the jurors found him guilty. They just couldn't decide the degree.

Full story follows:

http://www.cnn.com/2011/CRIME/09/01/califo...rder/index.html

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Mistrial declared in killing of gay California student

By the CNN Wire Staff

September 2, 2011 1:26 a.m. EDT

Los Angeles (CNN) -- A judge declared a mistrial Thursday after jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked in the murder trial of a teenager accused of gunning down a gay classmate in their Southern California classroom.

Ventura County Superior Court confirmed the ruling in the eight-week trial of Brandon McInerney, who was 14 at the time of the shooting in 2008.

The nine-woman, three-man jury panel said its last vote resulted in seven in favor of finding the defendant guilty of voluntary manslaughter, CNN affiliates reported.

McInerney was tried as an adult on charges of first-degree murder, use of a handgun and a hate crime.

McInerney, now 17, allegedly shot 15-year-old Lawrence King, an eighth grader at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, twice while both were typing papers in a computer lab for their English class, authorities said.

King, an openly gay teenager, was seated in the middle of the classroom with two dozen students and their teacher when McInerney allegedly shot him in the back of the head, authorities said.

Friends said King was proud of being openly gay. He liked wearing jewelry and makeup to school, and he often wore high-heeled boots with the school uniform. He asked his teachers to call him Leticia instead of Larry. Some students bullied him, pupils said.

The prosecution alleged McInerney had planned to shoot King over unwanted sexual advances, and said that McInerney had white-supremacist leanings, according to affiliate KABC.

The defense contended McInerney had a violent upbringing. It also argued that King taunted and flirted with McInerney, ultimately sparking the fatal confrontation, KTLA reported.

The trial was held in Chatsworth, in neighboring Los Angeles County, because the defendant successfully sought a change of venue in the high-profile case, said Ventura County Chief Deputy District Attorney Mike Frawley.

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Small correction to the above story from me: the murderer shot the gay kid twice in the back of the head. That's not a simple killing; it's an execution.

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And more news. Pay attention to the last two paragraphs:

California teen to be retried in gay student murder

By Michael Martinez, CNN

updated 11:13 PM EST, Wed October 5, 2011

Los Angeles (CNN) -- A teenager accused of gunning down a gay classmate execution-style in their Southern California junior high school classroom in 2008 will be retried on murder charges, the Ventura County district attorney's office said Wednesday.

But Brandon McInerney, now 17, won't be charged with a hate crime as before, Chief Deputy District Attorney Mike Frawley said Wednesday.

McInerney was arraigned Wednesday in Ventura County Superior Court, and he continued to plead not guilty to murder and other charges, Frawley said.

Last month, a judge declared a mistrial after jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked in the eight-week murder trial of McInerney, who was 14 at the time of the shooting. Prosecutors again will try him as an adult, Frawley said.

He said McInerney will face a first-degree murder charge, a special allegation of use of a handgun, and a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait.

In refiling the charges Wednesday, prosecutors dropped the hate crime count because "we just decided to slim the case down a bit and narrow the focus," Frawley said.

If convicted of all the new charges, McInerney would face a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in prison. Under the charges in the first trial, he faced a maximum sentence of 53 years to life in prison, Frawley said.

A pretrial hearing is scheduled for November 21, he said.

Last month, the nine-woman, three-man jury said its final vote resulted in seven in favor of finding the defendant guilty of voluntary manslaughter, CNN affiliates reported.

McInerney allegedly shot 15-year-old Lawrence King, an eighth grader at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, twice while both were typing papers in a computer lab for their English class, authorities said.

This summer's trial was held in Chatsworth, in neighboring Los Angeles County, because the defendant successfully sought a change of venue in the high-profile case, according to Frawley.

Prosecutors will seek to hold the second trial in Ventura County, but defense attorneys will have the option of requesting another change of venue, Frawley said.

King, an openly gay teenager, was seated in the middle of the classroom with two dozen students and their teacher when McInerney allegedly shot him in the back of the head, authorities said.

During the trial, the prosecution alleged McInerney had white-supremacist leanings and had planned to shoot King over unwanted sexual advances, according to CNN affiliate KABC.

Friends said King was proud of being openly gay. He liked wearing jewelry and makeup to school, and he often wore high-heeled boots with the school uniform. He asked his teachers to call him Leticia instead of Larry. Some students bullied him, pupils said.

King lived in a group home called Casa Pacifica, where workers said he started dressing like a girl. Other students said McInerney was also subject to some harassment because King had a crush on him and made it publicly known.

The defense contended McInerney had a violent upbringing. It also argued that King taunted and flirted with McInerney, ultimately sparking the fatal confrontation, KTLA reported.

McInerney managed to bring a handgun belonging to relatives inside the school, Frawley said.

After the first shot, King fell to the ground, and McInerney allegedly stood over him and shot again -- a coup de grace shot -- according to Frawley.

Both shots were at point-blank range, Frawley said.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/05/justice/cali....html?hpt=hp_t2

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