Defense witnesses: childhood molestation triggered violent reaction to gay classmate


Testimony in the murder trial of 17-year-old Brandon McInerney, accused of killing an openly gay classmate, brought new revelations of McInerney’s abusive childhood, and testimony that the victim antagonized McInerney by parading around in makeup and high heels.

Brandon McInerney (left) and Lawrence King.

McInerney is accused of the 2008 execution-style shooting of 15-year-old Lawrence King, a gay classmate who often dressed in a feminine style, and who was shot the back of the head by McInerney in a computer lab at E.O. Green School in Oxnard, Calif., on Feb. 12, 2008.

In testimony this week, defense witnesses said McInerney was molested by a relative as a boy, a family secret that his older half brother didn’t learn until two weeks after McInerney shot King, the half brother told jurors in a Chatsworth courtroom Wednesday.

James Bing testified that McInerney’s father cried hysterically as he revealed the molestation that occurred when Brandon was about 9 years old. […]

McInerney’s father, who is now dead, believed the memory of the molestation was what caused his son to react so violently when Larry King began dressing like a girl and flirting with McInerney at their Oxnard junior high school, Bing said.

Another defense witness, history teacher Arthur Saenz, testified on Thursday that the day before King was fatally shot, he saw McInerney and a group of friends outside the Oxnard school, and King was walking back and forth in front of them.

“He was kind of parading back and forth,” his head tilted back and trying to call attention to himself, Saenz testified. King was wearing high-heeled women’s boots and makeup.

The friends were laughing at Brandon, who had “a lot of anger and rage” in his expression as King walked by, the teacher testified.

Defense attorneys argue that McInerney was pushed to an “emotional breaking point” after being sexually harassed by King.

The prosecution contends that McInerney, then 14, shot King because he disliked homosexuals and was bothered by King’s attention to him.

This Story Filed Under