VENTURA, Calif. -— Brandon McInerney — accused of murdering gay classmate Lawrence King in February of 2008 at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard — will be retried on a murder charge, Ventura County California prosecutors announced Wednesday.
The first trial, held in a Chatsworth, Calif., courtroom ended with Superior Court Judge Charles Campbell declaring a mistrial after the nine-woman, three-man panel of jurors could not decide on the degree of guilt.
Seven members of the panel were in favor of a voluntary manslaughter conviction, while five others supported either first-degree or second-degree murder.
Ventura County Deputy D.A. Maeve Fox said their intention is to pursue a murder charge in adult court against McInerney, 17, but a hate crime charge will be dropped. Fox also noted that Judge Campbell set a Nov. 21 trial date, but it’s unclear if it will be held in Ventura County.
Prosecutors alleged that McInerney embraced a white supremacist philosophy, believing that homosexuality is an abomination.
Oxnard detectives executing a search warrant in the aftermath of the murder found Nazi-inspired drawings and artifacts at his house, and an expert in white supremacist groups testified at trial for the prosecution that, in his opinion, the hate-filled ideology was the principal reason for McInerney’s rage against King.
Prosecutor Fox during the trial stated that at least six witnesses had heard McInerney make threats against King in the days prior to the murder.
Defense attorneys while acknowledging that their client was indeed guilty of shooting King, argued that McInerney had reached an emotional breaking point after King made repeated, unwanted sexual advances. Due to McInerney’s age at the time of the shooting and his background of an abusive home environment according to the defense team, they have argued that juvenile court would be the best venue to try their client.