Trial gets underway of California teen charged with killing gay classmate

Brian McInerney (left), and Lawrence King

Brian McInerney (left), and Lawrence King

Opening arguments are scheduled to get underway Tuesday in the trial of Brandon McInerney, charged with the execution style killing of a gay classmate in 2008.

Brandon McInerney (left), and Lawrence King

McInerney is charged in the 2008 killing of 15-year-old classmate Lawrence King at E.O. Green School in Oxnard, Calif.

Prosecutor Maeve Fox says she will outline a straightforward case in opening arguments set to begin Tuesday in a Chatsworth courtroom. The Oxnard teenager carefully planned and carried out the Feb. 12, 2008, execution of his eighth-grade classmate, she said. He brought a gun to school, positioned himself directly behind King during a morning computer class and fired twice into the back of the 15-year-old’s head.

McInerney then dropped the gun and walked out the door in front of two dozen horrified classmates and a teacher, Fox says.

Prosecutors have added a hate-crime allegation, arguing that McInerney’s actions were spurred in part by a hatred of gays, in line with his alleged neo-Nazi sympathies. If convicted, he faces 53 years to life.

McInerney’s attorneys argue the slaying was voluntary manslaughter provoked by King’s “repeated sexual advances.”

The two boys had been sparring in the days before the killing, allegedly because King had expressed a romantic interest in McInerney, who was 14 at the time.

The killing triggered an emotional outpouring that included candlelight vigils across the country and a day of silence organized by GLSEN — the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.

McInerney is being tried as an adult.

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