Prosecutors in the murder trial of an Oxnard, Calif., teen — accused of the execution-style murder of openly gay classmate Lawrence King — vowed on Friday to retry Brandon McInerney, 17, maintaining that the shooting was a premeditated hate crime.
California Superior Court Judge Charles Campbell on Thursday declared a mistrial in the case after a deadlocked jury was unable to reach a verdict.
Jurors on Thursday said they were deadlocked on a verdict, with seven favoring a voluntary-manslaughter conviction and five pushing for first- or second-degree murder. The jurors, who have not spoken to the media about the deliberations, told defense attorneys that they did not believe the killing amounted to a hate crime.
Prosecutors on Friday disagreed and said they continue to believe the killing was motivated by victim Larry King’s sexual preference. They also said they believe that McInerney was lying in wait to kill King, an allegation that automatically qualifies him to be tried as an adult, Ellison said.
On Feb. 12, 2008, McInerney — then 14 — took a .22-caliber handgun to school, and shot King, 15, twice in the back of the head in a junior high school computer lab at E.O. Green School in Oxnard.
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The prosecution says it was a calculated murder carried out in part because McInerney was exploring white supremacist ideology and didn’t like homosexuals.
Defense attorneys painted a different picture, that of a bright but abused 14-year-old who snapped after being sexually harassed by King.
McInerney was tried as an adult, and declined to testify in his own defense.