Brandon McInerney Had To Use A Gun To Stop Lawrence King’s Predatory Use Of Eyeliner

Three years ago 14-year-old Brandon McInerney walked into his middle school computer classroom, sat behind Lawrence King and shot the openly gay student twice in the head with a .22-caliber handgun as 24 classmates watched on. Now, the 17-year-old McInerney will go to trial. His defense? He just couldn’t deal with King’s eye makeup and women’s accessories.

Prosecutors call the murder a hate crime worthy of 53 years in prison. McInerney’s defense team calls the murder voluntary manslaughter saying that the abused young man could not rationally deal with the “gay panic” he experienced from King’s repeated come ons. If convicted for murder, McInerney will rot in prison until he’s 70. If for voluntary manslaughter, he’ll be eligible for parole before he’s 40.

Luckily, courts have begun rejecting the “gay panic” defense.

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  • David Ehrenstein

    It’s gonna be REAL UGLY folks.

    And you can be sure this trial won’t get one tenth of the attention of the Casey Anthony circus.

  • Brian

    I think that the parents should be on trial also. Someone had to nurture and allow this demented teenagers beliefs. Shouldn’t a parent taught him that killing is wrong? Is there no accountability for what you do and say?

  • Cam

    Gay Panic? Give me a break, if the court accepts that, then will somebody be using the “Chrisitan Panic”, “Muslim Panic”, “Black Panick”, “Asian Panic”, defense?

    Give me a break, they would do better to try to blame the parents and say the kid was crazy.

  • Politically Incorrect Thug

    The kid’s a bad seed. Give him the needle and make the world a better place.

  • TMikel

    I agree – gay panic is not a valid defense at all! This was a hate crime pure and simple and the defense council’s attempt at it is a blame the victim approach and must be refuted. Remember the Twinkie defense? This is a similar red herring. McInerney could have asked for help from any teacher or administrator if he really felt threatened. I also agree with holding his parents responsible. Hate is learned at home and the kid got the gun somewhere. I don’t agree with the idea of execution. Lock him up in solitary confinement for 70 years and let him spend his time thinking about what he did.

  • Sarah

    Thats what the effing gets.

  • Riker

    I’m going to take the opposite position and say that we should show him forgiveness. Yes, he did an awful, awful thing and he knows it. Should his life be completely wasted because of it? If Judy Shepard forgave her son’s killers, then I think we should do the same. I he is convicted of the lesser charge, he’ll be in prison until 40. Isn’t that enough? Why make him rot until 70?

  • Cam


    Let him out as soon as Lawrence King reaches the age of 40…..oh wait.

  • merle

    There is plenty of blame to go around in this situation.

  • Red Meat

    I feel sorry for him, it’s obviously his parents fault spewing him all that fear and hate.

  • Riker

    @Cam: My point is that one life has already been destroyed by this horrible action, do we really need to add to the body count?

  • Ogre Magi

    @Riker: He is a rotten kid, his kind ruin lives he does not deserve any mercy

  • Conrad Honicker

    “Luckily?” Really, Daniel? I mean, this is someone’s life we’re talking about. A kid who did some really foul shit. I cried when Lawrence King was shot. I organized a vigil. I also cried for Brandon, who’s life is now ruined. I wish our corrections system would utilize him as a tool to educate people so this kind of violence doesn’t happen again instead of wasting his body in box with bars. God Bless the queers/trans, and God Bless the people who have hurt us.

  • the crustybastard

    Panic is reflexive. When you’ve thought about something long enough to decide to murder someone, source a weapon, ensure its lethality, secret it so it can arrive undetected, ascertain the location of your victim, then take a few moments to draw the weapon, target, and choose to actually carry through and pull the trigger — “panic” is hardly the appropriate term.

    Even assuming his “gay panic” defense is legitimate, that’s hardly an argument in favor of McInerney ever being reintroduced to society. Quite the contrary; it’s a concession that “I am a sociopath who will shoot people in the back of the head anytime I detect the slightest provocation.”

    Society can choose to rid itself of gay people to make the world safe for Brandon McINerney, or it can rid itself of Brandon McInerney to make the world safe for gays.

    Bye, Brandon.

  • Mike in London UK


    I think that “W” used the “Muslim Panic” trick already.

    Personally I think there’s some nice islands in the South Atlanic (St. Georgia) that would be perfect for a “thankless wretch of humanity” dumping zone.

  • bob

    The kid should be eligible for parole, someday. But using gay panic to do so is just despicable.

  • TheRealMannequinAdam

    @the crustybastard: I highly doubt that a gay panic defense or posture is equivalent to a sociopathic state for most (hetero) people. There are enough homophobes, and enough homophobia out there, to make Brandon’s defense and his actions plausible, if not admirable, and certainly not worth the second degree murder conviction that would put him in jail for 70 years. “Gay panic” itself functions on the basis of homophobia and so it is understandable to anti-gay straights. Couple that with his age (boys will be boys), and there is a good chance Brandon will got off without the harshest penalty.

  • the crustybastard


    It scarcely matters what millions of American imagine to be true about the validity of a legal defense predicated on diminished capacity arising from and irresistible provocation.

    What matters what 12 jurors think, and they will be told by the judge that raising such a defense requires the defendant to prove he responded immediately to the provocation.

    This McInerney cannot do.

    Which makes me wonder why the judge is allowing the defendant to raise this defense. It’s no more supported by the evidence than Mcinerney claiming “self-defense” required him to shoot an unarmed kid in the back of the head during class. Legally untenable, morally outrageous.

  • Stace

    Poor thing is already going to get raped and raped and raped in prison. If anything he’ll actually learn what real “gay panic” is, that should be enough.

  • Lisa Simpson

    I feel bad for him. He is obviously very stupid/ill. Where were the parents of this child? It’s a shame all around. For Brandon and the other boy.

  • Interesting

    (a) As a general rule, children shouldn’t be tried as an adult.

    (b) I wish there was some standard other than either we treat them as children or we treat them as adults. This kid was fed a lo of hateful shit. I am not sure that rises to what a hate crime of an adult is, but I also sure that I don’t want him on the streets either for a long time until he can be rehabilitated, etc.

    (c) The defense is bullshit. Unfortunately, I am not sure there’s a way to address the fact its bullshit unless there is a way the presecution can appeal it?

  • Interesting

    @the crustybastard: It is not up to the judge generally to determine the factual elements of a case. The key element is whether there is a prima facie case for a defense, which is a really low burden to meet. I am not an expert in the state in question, but generally that’s how criminal law would look at these sorts of thing. The only way round that is like the recent case in which a higher court found a defense legally invalid. But that’s a legal question. Not a factual one.

  • Zeus

    Anyone who pre meditatively kills someone for no reason other than self defense should be sentenced to life in prison. That’s the problem with all these different charges that someone can have brought against them. He killed someone, period. Should the amount of time spent in prison really differ based on whether or not this kid was upset over a “gay panic”? No.

  • Interesting

    The key word is “kid.” Not adult. He was 14 (as I remember) when he committed crime. The defense is bullshit, but so is “life without parole.” Most people are really worried that the jury will be homophobic. There’s not likely to be any real justice here because the country has not yet come up with a good way to address a 14 year old, who does not have the mental development of an adult, when he or she commits a crime. Instead, we try to push them either into being just kids, which they aren’t, or just adults, which they aren’t. I think if you had some way to go inbetween the two extremes you could avoid bullshit defenses.

  • Ganondorf


    I think there’s good evidence to suggest that kids who kill tend to become adults who kill. The “not developed emotionally/intellectually” bit can be used to diminish capacity, but in premeditated murders, that feature isn’t likely to go away upon rational reflection and maturity. More often that not, these creatures just learn how to best satisfy their urges in more discreet ways, and present an acceptable facade to distract from who they really are. They are, if anything, a dead weight loss on society. Second chances aren’t a given.

  • TheRealMannequinAdam

    @the crustybastard: And what if those 12 jurors are a part of those “millions of Americans” who may sympathize with the “gay panic” defense?

  • Jeffree

    Dig around the past of a so-called “killer teen” & you’ll often find warning signs: cruelty toward animals, bullying, social problems.

    Remember the duo from Columbine HS?
    On the anniversary of that massacre, a few years ago, NPR did some great reporting on similar cases & the “experts” from various fields (psych., social work, criminal justice, etc.) had lots of theories, but they seemed to agree that peer groups & exposure to violent were as much of an influence as parenting.

    Either way, Brandon’s “panic defense,” like others said above, is weak, and seems like the only way to defend the undefensible act. But, I won’t be surprised if the jury still accepts that rationale and Brandon gets whatever the minimum penalty is.

  • nashvegasdj

    i not only think he should fry, but his parents should go to jail as well. it is the parents job to teach that hate is bad. a 14 year old aint forgot he is not supposed to hate, he was never taught…..

  • Jeffree

    @nashvegasdj: What would you charge the parents with?

  • nashvegasdj

    @Jeffree: accessory before, during and after the fact. along with child endangerment (14 year old with a gun), contributing to the delinquncy of a minor (for not knowing the kid had the gun) and child neglect for the same reason. you give a kid an xbox that teaches him to kill things, you are responsible for the lessons that box teaches him….

  • Jeffree

    @nashvegasdj: Sounds like you’ve done some research! Thanks for such a quick reply.
    Are there precedents for those charges being used in similar circumstances? (in case you know offhand, f not, I’m sure we’ll hear from others.)

  • nashvegasdj

    oh i have no idea, but someone should be held responsible and parents are not held to a standard that is conducive to producing happy healthy children. we buy them anything they want and teach them that they are entitled to get what they want when they want it then we are surprised when they kill someone. parents are already civily held responsible but i think they should be held criminally responsible as well….

    we put people in jail for driving without a license, yet any fool can have a child. im eager to see what happens with the case.god i should have been a lawyer

  • Interesting

    @Ganondorf: A kid bullied for being gay, takes a gun to school, and shoots a kid who he fears although the kid was only verbally harassed? The kid had been drawing pictures of the murder for several months as the harassment escalated. Would you want him sent away for life based on premeditated murder? Your argument says yes.

    This is not a far fetched example. I just restated the classic batter wife defense. My point: It is easy to come up with a rule that fits a particular outcome that you want. It is harder to come up with a rule that will have to apply to everyone. I am thinking of a rule that could be applied to everyone.

    The gay panic defense is bullshit, but the idea that the defendant is too young for life imprisonment is not. The gay panic defense is bullshit because it relies on the same sort of bias as your argument does- “let me fit the facts to the outcome I want rather than coming up with a rule that I really want to apply even when more sympathetic facts arise.”

    As I said, I believe the fear here is that the jury will buy the gay panic defense. For the jury to do that, they must engage in similar thinking as you are engaged, but with different biases.

  • nashvegasdj

    @Interesting: so you are gonna go out and kill the next person that calls yo a name???? give me a fucking break. this is what is wrong in america. no one is responisble for anything. do whatever the fuck you want, and if you get caught explain it away or come up with a good reason for doing what you did.

    bottom line…..

    GOD said dontbe fucking killing people…..he didnr say dont kill unless they hurt your feelings. he said dont be fucking killing people!!!! it is really quite simple, unless you are trying to dodge responsibility for your actions. i MIGHT understand if HE had been BATTERED wife or even a BATTERED teen, but sticks and stones, man!!! i agree 150% with ganondorf

  • Queer Supremacist

    Why are we debating whether or not to let him live? We should be debating the means by which he and his parents should be put to death (I agree with nashvegasdj on that).

    Nazi scum like Brandon McImanazi are good for only one thing: taste testers for Zyklon B.

  • Ganondorf


    First, I don’t believe that violent psychopaths should be left to their own devices outside of an appropriate institutional environment. They cannot be cured, unfortunately. They are capable of suffering, and as such should be treated humanely (barring the death penalty for their behavior, which I also believe is warranted in certain contexts). But they should never be released from clinical observation and confinement under any circumstance whatsoever, for despite their age or presumed innocence or even varying levels of charm, they are lethal.

    Now given that, and the fact that this boy’s behavior doesn’t rule out the diagnosis (in fact, many would suggest that his behavior in this instance recommends it), barring a clinical diagnosis, your suggestion amounts to the possibility of releasing him back into society. So if he were a violent psychopath (officially diagnosed, let’s entertain), do you think that there’s a context in which it is appropriate to give him a second chance and reintroduce him to the wild, as it were? That doesn’t seem very rational.

  • Interesting

    @nashvegasdj: Well, you are building a lot of house with that straw man.

  • nashvegasdj

    @Interesting: better to build with straw than bullshit

  • Jeffree

    Although the word “psychopath” may apply in this case, it’s not a diagnosis recognized in the current Diagnostic /Statistical Manual. Closest you can get is “antisocial personality disorder.”

    No matter what the shrinks say about the diagnosis, I don’t see how the criteria logically could support a defense along lines of “gay panic.” because it’s not an acute condition like a manic or psychotic episode.

  • Ganondorf


    Well the abrahamic god of Numbers commanded genocide of the Midianites. I wouldn’t put too much stock in abrahamic morality, as its followers have never had a problem with murder, just the murder of certain people. Pick and choose like all of it.

  • Interesting

    @Ganondorf: If I give you another difficult set of facts, will you shift positions again? You started with premeditation. You moved to psychopath once premeditation became a problem. So, whatever I answer, I expect you to that again.

    If you want to know how a jury can buy a bullshit defense like “gay panic,” you just illustrated how it might work. They will move the “facts” to whatever place they need to be to fit their bias.

    I have no idea if this kid is a psychopath or not. Neither do you. I will say this- that’s one of the things that if one were looking for justice rather than just putting the kid away that we would want to find out. The difference here is that I would want to find out. Can you honestly say you haven’t already decided answer is yes to fit your foregone goal?

    Two of these things are the same: coming up with a way for just punishment (and if possible rehabilitation), condoning bullshit defenses like “gay panic” and advocating Kangaroo court type “he needs to be in jail forever. Now let’s just come up with a way to justify it.” The only one I am interested in is the first The last two are the same.

  • Ganondorf


    Well, I think that premeditation of violent crime in light of these incentives is an indicator of what could be classified psychopathy. Much like I would the schedule of incentives resulting in the murder of a boyfriend to make another available so that the murderer could date him. You made some claims. Let’s address those.

    “the idea that the defendant is too young for life imprisonment is not [Bullshit].”

    “I am thinking of a rule that could be applied to everyone.”

    This implies that you believe that there is an age at which a person is too young to be sentenced to life in prison for her behavior. I could say lifetime institutionalization, and the same quibble would likely present itself. I think that’s absurd. There are some children who DEFINITELY SHOULD be imprisoned/institutionalized for life. I provided a hypothetical example that punches a hole in your universal prohibition of lifetime imprisonment of certain minors.

    I’d want to find out, too [whether he is or isn’t a psychopath]. But I don’t think that life in prison for this crime is far fetched or overly cruel just because of the defendant’s age in light of the heinous act that he willfully perpetrated. Nowhere was I addressing the viability of the gay panic defense. It’s absurd, and the product of baseless homophobia (except there). I have no interest in decrying it or shredding it to bits (which I’ve easily done in the past), as it’s beneath contempt.

  • Interesting

    @Ganondorf: You have decided that THIS child without more than the fact you identity with the victim should be given life. Let’s be clear on what you and others have said here. You aren’t on the jury. No case has been presented. Also please don’t tell me what I think. what I said was that the present system doesn’t work. There should be another way that reflects the fact that its imperfect to choose either adult or child hood. from there, you decide to tell me what I think. I can speak of what you think on the issue because you told me either directly or the implications (judge without much evidence) are clear. You can’t do the same other than to add a lot of things I didn’t say.

  • Ganondorf


    No. I haven’t “decided” (read what I’ve written again if it will help). But it’s not irrational to suppose given the evidence of his actions that he’s likely to engage in violent behavior to satisfy his preferences again.

    I don’t think that you understand the reasoning here. I used your words and your suggested rule that would exempt this person from a lifetime sentence based on your suggested PRINCIPLE (that being his AGE–re: “(a) As a general rule, children shouldn’t be tried as an adult.” and “but the idea that the defendant is too young for life imprisonment is not.” and “I am thinking of a rule that could be applied to everyone.”). According to you, some people are too young for lifetime imprisonment/institutionalization (this person being one of them). I then went on to show that that is in conflict with rationality and the promotion of the social good, for there are exceptions of which this particular young man seems like a candidate (though not necessarily). Therefore, the principle is inadequate to the purpose, which in your words would be…

    “coming up with a way for just punishment”

    Now no one’s telling you what you think. You don’t seem to have any difficulty doing that yourself. This accusation that I’m not on a jury, etc., is pure hot air. I’m not trying a case(LOL!), but assessing a general principle you advanced.

  • Graham McDougall

    A surprising and unforgiving crowd on this article, rather disappointed.

  • Colin


    Uh, Brandon McInerney’s father cannot be on trial… he is dead.

    Article from

    McInerney’s Father Found Dead

    Timothy Kincaid
    March 18th, 2009

    William McInerney, father of teen-murderer Brandon McInerney, was found dead today. While there was no indication of foul play, I suspect that there may not have been natural causes.

    The father of a 15-year-old boy accused of killing a gay classmate was found dead at his home on Wednesday, just hours before his son was expected to appear at a court hearing, authorities said.

    In addition to Brandon’s toubles, William McInerney was undergoing legal problems of his own. The elder McInerney was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday on felony charges he threatened to kill his sister during a domestic dispute last month.

    The sister, Maura McInerney, testified that he became enraged and threatened her after she was unable to wake him up for a scheduled visit with his jailed son.


    The coroner has ruled the death an accident.

    The father of 15-year-old murder defendant Brandon McInerney was found dead this morning at his home in Silver Strand after what appeared to be an accidental fall.

    William McInerney, 45, died from blunt-force head injury, said Dr. Janice Frank, the Ventura County assistant medical examiner who conducted an autopsy of the body.

    Frank said a contributing cause of death was alcoholism. McInerney had a history of alcohol abuse, she said, declining to elaborate.

  • Sebastian

    I fail to see how stating you’re going to harm someone (heard in court by testimony of classmates), getting and concealing a gun, and popping them in the back of the head twice constitutes “in the heat of the moment” as the defence is stating. Isn’t that generally Premeditated Murder?

    I am sad for Brandon for he is a troubled soul yet beleive he should get life as the prosecution is aking for! Mureder is not the answer.

    Many other blogs where people are saying that Lawrence should not have acted up (wearing high heels and makeup) but WTF, so what if a kid wants to dress up in high heels, you don’t like it, don’t wear high heels! or look the other way!

    What is wrong with the general public? And for those of you trying to victimize Brandon, yes Brandon is a victim of life ei: Bad parents, bad upbrining and all but he is not a victim of the murder that he has committed….that would be Lawrence. RIP Lawrence! May your slaughter open up peoples eyes to the wonderfull rainbow of differences in us all.

    My heart goes out to all the friends and famillies who have been put through hell from Brandon’s act!

    Brandon may not be “legally an adult” in the terms of his age, 14 VS 18 but remebr not long ago, boys turned into men at 13, yes 13! and girls were woman as soon as they had the first menstrual cycle! I agrre with the being tried as an adult case!

  • McGullen

    TMikel: McInerney committed the murder in cold blood when he was just 14 years old. Most people need to become adults before they murder in cold blood, if they ever do it. I doubt he could learn anything from thinking in prison. I doubt he ever thinks about much of anything.

  • JK


  • Richard

    Right-wing fundamentalists are all murderers

  • Emily

    So, according to this defense, I could, say, shoot all the guys who make kissey noises at me on the street.

  • Mat

    Whilst I abhor this kid’s actions, it seems so clear to me that this kid was brainwashed to hold these views by others. If you take a child and pump their minds full of hate every day, what chance has an educational system the child probably dislikes, got of correcting the damage?

    I think it’s high time that we brought in licences to have kids. Oh but no – civil liberties freedom, yada yada.

    Kids are not possessions, for adults to fuck up their minds as they will, and the sooner society faces up to the fact that it is collectively responsible for the next generation, the sooner we can start to avoid crap like this.

    And whilst we’re looking for people to blame, I vote that we put MTV and adolescent homophobic rap asshole Tyler the Creator top of the list

  • jhr459

    @Riker: I agree. What he did was horrendous, but don’t we have enough statistics that show that a 14 year old is not capable of fully understanding these ramifications? 40 years, in this case, is enough. If the killer had been 24, throw him under the jail.

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