Student Who Killed Larry King Gets 21 Years in Prison


Brandon McInerney, who shot 15-year-old Lawrence “Larry” King in the back of the head during a computer science lesson in 2008, has been sentenced to 21 years in prison by a court in Ventura County, California.

From the Associated Press:

McInerney will report to prison next month, after he turns 18. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and unlawful use of a firearm after jurors deadlocked during his trial as an adult on a first-degree murder charge.


During the trial, prosecutors portrayed McInerney as a teen who couldn’t control his anger and was influenced by white supremacist ideology. Jurors rejected the claim that the killing was a hate crime.

Prosecutors said the plotted killing was first-degree murder and that McInerney should be punished as an adult. Defense attorneys, who unsuccessfully argued to keep the case in juvenile court, said McInerney reached an emotional breaking point after King’s advances. They said he snapped when he heard King wanted to change his first name to Latisha.

Under teams of the plea bargain, McInerney’s murder conviction was stayed and he received the harshest possible sentence under California law for voluntary manslaughter – 11 years – and use of a firearm – 10 years. McInerney is ineligible for time served for good behavior because he pleaded guilty to murder.

The case became a flash-point for LGBT rights groups, especially when McInerney’s defense offered that Larry King provoked McInerney with sexual advances, and that the school’s permissive attitude toward Larry being able to wear female attire as an expression of his identity contributed to the escalating tensions between the pair that would eventually lead to King’s death — something King’s parents also touched on during the trial. Understandably, arguments raged as to whether this was a case of victim blaming or a valid concern.

While McInerney’s defense originally offered that King had been aggressive in the way he had pursued McInerney and the prosecution were keen to absolve King of any antagonist behavior whatsoever, what emerged from the trial was evidence of a long history of both the quite troubled boysfeudingwith one another.

A mistrial in this case was declared in September after jurors found they were unable to decide between a murder or manslaughter charge.

Shortly after the mistrial, McInerney admitted second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and use of a firearm.

Greg King, Larry King’s father,reportedly told McInerney during sentencing “You have left a big hole in my heart where Larry was and it can never be filled.”

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Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to Tim Time Photography.


Maresa Marangoni
Maresa Marangoni4 years ago

I am definitely very glad people can't carry firearms around where I live. Nobody even minds, nobody ever brings out petitions claiming that we should be able to... we don't need them, we don't miss them.

Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Terry V.
Terry V5 years ago

why is this news on care2?

marc horton
marc horton6 years ago

my heart goes out to larry/latisha's mom and dad. i am soo sorry for your loss. thanks to lindy and michelle k iagree

Jennifer S.
Jennifer S6 years ago

First of all, what in God's name is a 14 year old doing with a gun? And, furthermore, he brought it to school! Where were the school authorities and teachers? Secondly, I completely disagree with the decision of the jury that this was not a hate crime and was not premeditated. Just the fact that he brought the weapon to school is ample proof of premeditation. Clearly the sentence was fabricated and likely the result of some sort of deal, whether between the court and the defendant or in the jury room. This kid will go to prison, where there will be ample opportunity to augment the toxic upbringing he has received to date. Just think: in 21 years, provided he does not get out on parole sooner, Brandon will be let out at age 39, with plenty of time in his life to express his homophobic hate-filled heart-maybe even by murdering another human being again!

Ang H.
angie Harper6 years ago

Aren't people opinionated nowadays with limited FACTS?

Robert Moseley
Robert Moseley6 years ago

It is indeed a sad commentary that human beings are being murdered simply because of same gender attraction. We must remember however the loss of 500,000 gay and bisexual men due to conformist behavior.Nobody seems to care that the greatest harm has been done by those who aspire to be a part of the dominant heterosexual culture as demonstrated by their intimate behavior. Don,t take my word for it. Look for yourselves. I am pro life in all it its forms and that includes those who are bullied demeaned and killed simply because they are different.

Jennifer Smith
Jennifer Smith6 years ago

I wish there were more information here. People are all against the one boy they portray as a murderer. But how much more was going on? They say there were sextual advances, how serious? How do we know the name Larry wanted to change his name to didn't mean something to the other boy? What if he was trying to get help with the problem and no one would interviene?

As someone dealing with serious mental problems, there's too many questions and not enough answers for me to jump on the 'hate crime' bandwagon. If Larry's mother was worried things would get out of control, then it says to me there's a LOT more going on then we know about.

SeattleAnn S.
Ann S6 years ago

To the Kings: so sorry for your loss. It seems you all did a very fine job in raising Larry to be comfortable with who he was, and it's a shame that the perpetrator was obviously not comfortable with himself.

Yvonne Fast
Yvonne F6 years ago

Thanks for sharing!