At age 14, Brandon McInerney shot and killed openly gay student Lawrence King in front of their teacher and 24 classmates. Prosecutors are seeking a first-degree (premeditated) murder and hate-crime charges that would put away McInerney for 53 years. But the jury could give him the lesser charge of second-degree (non-premeditated) murder or even voluntary manslaughter (killing in “the heat of passion”) which would only put McInerney away for 23 years. So which will it be?
The prosecution has already tried to blunt a “gay panic” defense, but whether they’ve convinced a jury that McInerney’s white supremacy and homophobia adds up to pre-meditation remains uncertain; especially since the defense has portrayed McInerney as a victim of violent abuse that King sexually harassed.
At least the defense has stopped claiming that the judge is anti-gay. That’s nearly as ridiculous as blaming the victim for his own murder.