Today in Ventura County, a judge handed down a 21-year sentence to Brandon McInerney, who plead guilty to second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter in the death of classmate Larry King.
Reports the L.A. Times:
McInerney, who was 14 when he pulled a gun out of his backpack and shot King two times at point-blank range, will be kept behind bars until he is 39 under the terms of the deal struck by Ventura County prosecutors.
In an unusual arrangement, the 17-year-old pleaded guilty to the charges after the judge declared a mistrial in his first trial. In return, prosecutors agreed not to go forward with a second trial, which could have resulted in a life sentence.
King’s life came to a tragic end in 2008, when McInerney walked into a computer lab at E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard, CA, and shot him twice—allegedly after King had flirted with him and other males students.
While McInerney’s sentence is more than twice his current lifespan, he’ll still be under 40 when he emerges as a free man. Time enough to live a full life.
But should a 14-year-old receive an adult punishment, even if for a crime so heinous?
McInerney was silent during his sentencing, but his attorney, Scott Wippert, said the 17-year-old remorseful for his actions. “He feels deeply remorseful and stated repeatedly if he could go back and take back what he did he would do it in a heartbeat, Wippert said.
But King’s family isn’t forgiving or forgetting, as CBS News reports:
“You took upon yourself to be a bully and to hate a smaller kid, wanting to be the big man on campus,”‘ King’s father, Greg King, said on behalf of his wife. “`You have left a big hole in my heart where Larry was and it can never be filled.”‘
Do you think justice was served in this case? Weigh in (respectfully) in the comments.
Have Brandon’s parents been charged with anything? They should be behind bars while Brandon goes to a psychiatric institute. Hate is taught and there was obviously a complete lack of positive parenting here.
You ask: ‘But should a 14-year-old receive an adult punishment, even if for a crime so heinous?’
I have to say, I don’t think so.
The kid was 14 when he did this hideous thing.
However, I speak as a wishy washy liberal european where the question wouldn’t have to be asked.
The only thing that Brandon Mcinerney is “remorseful” about is that he’s going to prison.
if he can do the crime then he should do the time regardless of whether or not he was 14
when it happened.
Mike in Asheville
Children are children, not adults.
California should review its juvenile sentencing guides as that cases like this one are handled in juvenile court where they belong. Instead of capping sentences to either an 18th or 25th birthday, cap sentences at 10 or 15 years.
All-in-all, the sentence does not seem out of line, though, personally, I think that juvenile sentences should be capped at 10 years (except “for hire” offenses which should match adult sentences).
My first instinct would be “no, he shouldn’t be judged as an adult”. But, really, why ? Because he wasn’t a child ; he was a teenager. At 14 you’re aware of what you do, and the notion that killing someone is BAD isn’t news to you.
Instead of a long punishment, when Brandon is ready, I rather have him go to different schools to talk about bullying, gun violence, and acceptance. It will give Larry’s death more meaning.
Justice served? Hell NO. The kid was 14. I teach middle school and the kids are crazy at that age. Of course there should be a consequence but it should not be that he is locked up until he is 39! This sentence is cruel in my opinion and it is not going to do the kid, or our society any good. I am profoundly anti-gun, anti-bully, anti-hate, and I am certainly grieved over this loss. That said, 14 year olds are capable of changing and this kid should be given a chance. After all, are you the same person you were at 14? Maybe the parents,… or our society should be on trial.
@James: Our society doesn’t send people to prison for “bad parenting”, thank God. If we did, we’d have a boatload of parents in prison. I’m not saying they were good parents. Not even saying they were not negligent. But to say parents should be imprisoned for the crimes of their children is hyperbolic nonsense. As for whether justice was served here, I don’t think so. Always a hard call. We don’t know all the facts and circumstances, but it does seem like justice requires more than 21 years. He’ll get out at 39 and have a life ahead of him. Granted, it’ll likely be a shitty life. But it’s more than Lawrence King has. RIP Lawrence and peace to his family.
Yup, the homophobic little bastard will go to jail, miss the rest of his youth and young adulthood, and will most certainly come out of jail at 39 a changed man:
he’ll be a bitter homophobic ex-con.
If anyone thinks the sentence will change anything in this kid, they are dreaming. The seeds of evil were planted there by his parents, and by a SOCIETY that tacitly approved of his actions.
I’m sure the jurors who wore “SAVE BRANDON” bracelets–to the trial, will be tickled pink that he got a slap on the wrist for Laurence’s murder.
Saying “Oh, he was only 14 is a cop-out! He got a gun, he knew he needed bullets in a gun to kill and he shot this young man at point-blank range. Why should he be allowed to be a free man at 39? He took a life! I think anyone who knowingly, deliberately takes a life should get an automatic life sentence, only exception being self-defense. This was not a self-defense case for the defendant.
“Weigh in (respectfully) in the comments.”
Censor my patently disrespectful thoughts concerning murderer Brandon McInerney and his joke of a sentence?
No thanks. Whether the goal is to force people to be polite TO a murderer or to be polite ABOUT a murderer, Queerty’s priorities are questionable at best when it comes to stories like this one. Expressions of rage may not be constructive, but anyone who does not have rage to express over a story like this one is not human. If you want a cautious and polite exchange of ideas over tea and crumpets, perhaps you should rethink the stories you cover, because no one at Queerty and no one who reads Queerty is going to solve the fact that young Larry King’s life has been exchanged for 21 years of climate-controlled living with meals on the house.
@Ron: Exactly. And that’s why his sentence should be doubled. He was let off easy with only 21 years. He will still have a long life ahead of him when he gets out. Justice was not served.
A child’s brain is not developed enough to the extent of understanding the true nature of their actions. Sorry, but he needs to be put away, but treating a child as an adult? Biologically you can’t. That’s science. Why aren’t these parents on trial?
If you commit murder.. regardless of your age. You know it’s wrong.. and you should be charged and sentenced like an adult. If the death sentence was the judgement to be handed out in what ever state that you commit your crime… well your an adult now…die well. While I may seem a little extreme.. you commit heinous crimes like this, cause you can not take a little flirting? Some one is not quite right in the head…either it’s you, your friends, or even your parents. In any case all those that had a hand in your little deed should be punished!
@Panserbjorne: Yeah, I’ve NEVER seen that attached to any other article I’ve read on Queerty. I guess some homophobes deserve more sympathy than others..
When I was 14 I’m pretty sure I knew that I shouldn’t shoot people because they made me upset/uncomfortable, so yes, he should serve an adult sentence.
When is his first parole hearing?
Yes he was 14 and a bully. He was getting hit on by a boy who likes to wear a dress and heels.
Well I think he will now see it from the other side of the coin.
He will be entering an adult prison as a cute young looking teen at the tender age of 18. He will be fresh meat for all the bigger adults in jail who only know how to rape teens like him. Brandon will be the one wearing the dress in jail being turned out to the other inmates having gay sex for the next 21 years.
For what he says was anger will now see how it was for King to be harassed and tortured.
He will also be known as a child killer in there on the bottom of the food chain with pedophiles.
Good luck Brandon or should we now start calling you Brandy 😉
If this was your child who was murdered you wouldn’t think the sentence was enough. If you say otherwise you are a liar.
I guess justice was served, however it doesn’t really feel like anything will be learned out of this. 2 lives ruined.
It really is amazing to watch how quickly the left goes from crying over America’s harsh penal system to screeching for BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD when the victim is one of their own and the killer is a white male. If McInerney were a black crack dealer and King was a police officer they’d be protesting this for the next 20 years.
If King were my child he would still be alive, because I would have raised him right.
@JayKay: Kevin if King was your child then the state would have taken him away from a prick like you long ago.
@newcityspot: Yea and the life that deserved to be ruined hasn’t been ruined for long enough and the life that didn’t deserve to be ruined is gone forever.
In cases like this, is there ever really justice? Killing Brandon would not bring justice nor peace to the families and friends of the departed, anymore than sending him away for next 21 years will. There is nothing that can be done to Brandon, or any other, that will balance the scales for what has been wrongfully taken.
According to the laws of the Unites States justice has been served. I grew up hearing the adage “it takes a community to raise a child”. If we decide to resort to placing the parents of Mr. McInerny on the stand next, then we as a society should be right up there with them. We have all collectively made this world what it is, and dismissing our own responsibilities in it deserves more justice than anything.
This person wilfully and knowingly took and hid a handgun in his backpack, he then snuck it into school with the express purpose of killing another student. This was not an accident or a crime of passion; it was and is cold blooded murder. He should have been tried as an adult and he should spend a very long time in prison or a hospital.
The parents also play a major role here… how did he get the gun? was it his parents or did he buy/steal it?
For a second forget the gay issues and the circumstances of this horrible crime.
America has more shooting deaths per day than most other countries have in a year something has to be done about gun control. Personal firearms should be made illegal and only the law enforcement should carry.
I know this goes against what many believe is a good given right, but it is the only reasonable way to curtail the sheer number of shooting deaths and gun violence in the US on a daily basis.
The sentence is actually the norm. Anyone expecting more is just an online douche.
@Al: I think a 14 year old knows that killing is wrong, that you can’t unkill someone who is killed. He didn’t mean to just injure, he meant to kill.
Now, at 14, you may not appreciate “I’ll go to jail for my whole life!” i.e. you don’t have full appreciation of the SENTENCE or CONSEQUENCES of your crime… but at 14 you know “dead is dead” and killing is wrong etc. and just because he couldn’t see far enough in the future to know “I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in jail, so I won’t MURDER someone”… so the question that makes the difference is:
Should people go to jail if they don’t fully understand the CONSEQUENCES of their crime, even if the do know without a doubt that what they’re doing is wrong… they may not appreciate HOW wrong it is, but if “intent” was the most important thing, there would be a lot fewer people in prison (who didn’t INTEND to commit a crime, but did).
Imagine what would become of him if he got some 3 year probation / suspended sentence thing for killing another person? What message does that send, and what does it say to him as his life goes on largely unaffected? This 14 year old who killed for whatever reason is very likely the kind of damaged goods that can’t necessarily be fixed.
I believe in the deterrent nature of harsh sentences. Crimes of passion are not deterred by harsh sentences, no, but this was a pre-meditated crime: get a gun and find the guy and shoot him in the back, not a fistfight gonw worng.
Capital punishment is wrong because errors do happen, and the government shouldn’t be killing people because if they get it wrong, there’s no way to compensate the loved ones of the wrongly executed, but stiff sentences will make some people think twice about what will happen to them if they get caught.
The parents should be on trial, as suggested by many here.
@Caracticus: Since you are okay with believing 14 year olds have the same mental capacities as adults here, are you also okay with them voting, getting married, going to war, and other issues that we decide 14 year olds are not capable of doing because we believe their decision making skills are not well formed yet? I mean- if one take all you let’s hang a 14 year old seriously, I expect to see you picketing the discrimination against them in this society too for not being able to be treated like adults in other capacities. of course, no one who makes your argument “really’ believes what you are saying. its just all sophistry meant to win an argument like sitting in a bar bullshitting over a beers.
Since when do 14 year old children get 21 YEARS for killing someone? In most cases in Amerika, minors aren’t even allowed to be identified by the media. Once again we see in stark terms two standards of justice here in Amerika. One standard for those with money and influence and another standard for those who are poor.
@Harry: When I was in law school, the OJ case (yeah I am old) was the big thing in the Criminal Law and Procedure course. The professor did this experiment where he required us to follow the criminal trials of various cases in which we could identity class, and it was as you said quite interesting how the justice system works for the poor versus those with money. I am not sure if this is an example of it. I think its more like the prosecution wants to send a message. The problem is in terms of race is that these sorts of rulings typically are used disproportinately to later justify longer sentencing for the low income and people of color as one study out of Ca showed.
@Interesting: I love how you call others douches so readily and then proceed to argue that another poster is just trying to win.
If the little punk thug’s sentence is “the norm”, then the norm needs to be changed. When there is any doubt about whether a person killed another person, or about circumstances that might have affected the behavior of the killer, I will question and oppose the death penalty every time. When it’s a 14-year-old with no history of trauma or mental illness, and there is no question about his actions, I’d stick him with the needle and push the plunger personally. And that’s not bravado–I’m sure that *I* would be traumatized by doing such a thing. But I would be willing to accept such trauma because said 14-year-old is an inhuman monster that the rest of society needs to be protected from for all eternity. And because having his life taken in a clean, painless manner that he can plan for is the LEAST of the consequences he should face for what he did.
You look at him and see a kid; others look at him and see a cruel, heartless murderer who for no reason except the sick thoughts swirling in his head took away something that means absolutely EVERYTHING and can never, ever be given back. The enormity of the little thug’s crime is truly too great for words to ever come close to describing. If you have a problem believing that other people hold this opinion that differs from your own, perhaps you should stay away from forums in which people express their opinions before you have the chance to approve them.
“But should a 14-year-old receive an adult punishment, even if for a crime so heinous?”
I will say no as soon as he figures out how to give the King family their son’s life back. Untill them, he is still getting to live a life which is something he denied his victim.
@Panserbjorne: If you are looking for a sentence longer than is normal in this kind of case, then yes, you are douches. You aren’t trying to seek justice at this point. You just a mob covering yourself up in the blood of victim to justify your sociopath tendencies- like Dexter.
This is another terrible day. We just sentenced a boy to 20 years in a federal penitentiary where he will no doubt be raped repeatedly for years. Look at his picture…do you honestly believe this little guy could possibly protect himself? Yes, he committed a horrible act at age 14. But he was NOT and adult. At age 14 the human brain is not developed enough to make decisions like an adult. The LGBTQ community seems okay with this because the victim was one of our own. We should be outraged! We should be demanding that this child be given the treatment to restore him to a productive member of society. Why aren’t we demanding that his parents be charged with child abuse/neglect? If we did the right thing for this boy, maybe he could one day be speaking to others for tolerance toward the LGBtQ community. Yes, I am Pollyanna! But, damnit, society is going to pay out the nose to incarcerate this kid and when he gets out…what? Someone who can’t interact normally with people and will never contribute to society.
@Cam: There is very little difference between you and that kid other than the fact that he’s going to jail for 21 years for being a stupid kid, and you get freely throw out straw men arguments about the decision making capacity of 14 year olds by draping yourself in the blood and sorrow of the parents.
@Interesting: Rationally, I can’t expect a sentence longer than the norm. From the standpoint of justice however, I expect the norm to be much, much, MUCH more severe in a case like this one. And therein is the problem, I think–what “this kind of case” is, is something that isn’t precisely defined.
Most teenage killers that I’ve heard about were severely abused, or grew up around extreme violence, or were otherwise mentally disturbed. This kid was not, and I therefore do not see his case as part of the norm you speak of. Regardless though, you make a blanket statement based on a set of beliefs and values that you hold, and you leave no room for the obvious truth that others will not share the same set of beliefs and values that you do. I’d respect both your intellect and your opinion if you’d asked the sort of obvious questions that I raised above (e.g., how do you define “norm”?). As it is though, I’m left with the impression that you’re just the type of internet bully you were attacking earlier. Too bad, as it seems as though you actually possess pertinent knowledge. I won’t be wasting more of my time to find out, however. Goodnight.
@Cam: It almost seems as though those arguing for leniency for the killer are not allowing themselves to truly connect with the stunning enormity of what he willing destroyed. I guess I could be wrong about that; perhaps their value systems really do dictate that 21 years in relative physical comfort is sufficient punishment for intentionally taking a life and destroying the hopes and dreams of many others. If I’m wrong, I guess all I can say is that I’m glad I don’t share that set of values. If I’m right, then I have to wonder why it’s so much easier for some people to sympathize with a murderer than his victim.
@Scott: Not sure why rape is funny.
@Panserbjorne: If you expect a longer sentence here than others receive, you aren’t seeking justice. Justice is about fair process, fair outcomes, and fair laws. Justice is not about your need for revenge. You can dress your blood lust up however you want, and it will still be just you, a pig with lip stick on.
I want to afford this kid something that our society all to often lacks in its attack against us gays, and that in fact does more to create kids like this- I am focused on rational thought. Responding insanely to the situation just guarantees more nut jobs.
By the way, without rationality, as a minority, we are screwing ourselves. Eye for an eye only works when you are in the majority.
For the record, you obviously know nothing about the facts of this case. You also do the rather banal “well you are arguing generalities.” I am arguing what fairness requires under the factual circumstances- a 14- year old kid, who was apparently subject to a horrible upbringing doing something horrible, but still a 14-year old kid with a horrible upbringing. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve anytime. It just means I do not see a 14 year as the same as adult because the neurological research on kids that age backs me up. Indeed, society feels the same way in non-blood lust situations. Like I said, if you want to be taken seriously, you must also be for sending 14-year olds to war, having them sign contracts, having them consent to sex with adults, having them marry. If not, then you are just being a hypocrite rationalizing your blood lust, because his age is a part of the mitigation that I am looking at in terms of whether this sentence was fair.
@Panserbjorne: no douche bag, we are just saying that we aren’t going to allow you to drape yourself in the blood of the victim as an excuse for arguments that have nothing to do with whether the sentence in fact fits what criminals like this kid normally receive.
@JayKay: No one here is “the left”; get your head out of that giant color-by-numbers book and look up at the real world. It’s a complex place, the world, and only simpletons see it as otherwise. When you make sweeping assumptions about the opinions of folks you’ve never met you’re aligning yourself with the simpletons. Black or white, most murderers deserve to die. Black or white, non-crooked cops do not. And black or white, anyone who thinks I’m “the left” is laughably wrong. So much for ignorance and sweeping generalizations.
How does a society teach that killing is wrong by killing? It’s embarrassing that the United States’ use of capital punishment puts it in the same league as China, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Iran. Nations like the UK, Canada, France, and Australia have abolished the death penalty in all circumstances. It surprises me that many gay people support it when it is systematically used against them in a number of countries. If homosexuality is on par with murder in the culture of those nations, isn’t the death penalty justifiable? To them it is; to gay people in the West, the idea is unconscionable. How should we then discern what crimes are heinous enough to execute someone? While values and standards of behavior differ from society, there should be a universal standard that respects all human life. Capital punishment should be abolished universally. There is no purer form of premeditation. A justice system that uses the death penalty adopts the same barbaric nature of a murderer.
@Panserbjorne: +1 for your comment. Thanks.
I can’t believe people are defending this cold-blooded killer saying that he was only 14. WTF!? As some of the jurors of the first trial said “He’s just a kid that made a horrible mistake”. What is wrong with you people? A mistake at that age is NOT looking for a gun, loading it and shooting someone from behind in the freaking head.
And that excuse about the brain not being developed? For god’s sake, mate. Brain’s development is determined in the first two years of life, then it’s all upbringing. THAT’s a fact.
I’m happy he’s been sentenced for 21 years. A slap in the wrist would have been enabling other young haters to take that as an example and would have been a terrible blow to the love and memory of the victim and his family.
@Interesting: tl;dr I already told you I was done with the conversation–especially after I saw your ridiculous statement equating Cam with a murderer. You need to be locked up yourself.
@Isaac C: Thanks, but which comment?
@DonsterNYC: NOT a federal case…it’s a STATE case
@hf2hvit: I suggest he buy himself a great big dildo and start stretching his hole. It will make life so much easier when he gets to prison.
I have NO sympathy for this McInerney person nor his parents. When you shoot a student in the head twice in front of other students then you are way beyond being a “stupid kid”, and trust me when you witness a person being shot in the head your life will never be the same. I hope McInerney gets treated like pure shit for the whole 21 years and I hope that those “real gangsters” in prison break him down to nothing, I would feel the same if the victim wasn’t gay.
@Panserbjorne: All of them really, but #36 specifically.
@Panserbjorne: You don’t have anything to say because your argument is not based on justice. The circle jerk between you and Isaac C underscores that point. What I said to Cam remains accurate- if you can not produce a reason why, other than its how you feel, this kid should receive more than the justice system allows in this case, then you are not any better than this kid. You are both trying to increase human suffering rather than stopping it. Justice is about fairness because the idea behind is to reduce human suffering rather than coming up with excuses why treating people differently is justified by how you feel.
@Panserbjorne: Let me add, while the mob circle jerks about wanting a longer sentence, what you are saying is you want to send a message (you aren’t the first mob to do this). You want to undo all the unfairness to gays in the past and/or future through sending a message. The problem is that it has nothing to do with this case, and more problematically sends the wrong message. The message isn’t that we want people, even criminals to be treated unfairly, it is that we want gay people to be treated fairly. That this sort of case should never happen in the first place. Your own arguments of promoting unfair outcomes gurantees that it would.
It’s clear that Brandon did something extremely wrong and his crime definite deserves punishment. But looking at the back story I think a lot could have been done to prevent this incident. I’m not trying to criminalize the victim but Larry King instigated a lot of incidents that caused Brandon McInerey to be bullied too. I’m not saying Brandon had any right to do this but I also don’t think he’s a monster. I think he had a really rough childhood and he reacted very badly to a situation that could have been prevented. I’m all for kids being in touch with their sexuality and being free to express themselves but not at the cost of others. Larry didn’t deserve to die but someone should have discussed limits with him. Just as other students didn’t have to like his choices but had to respect it, he needed to respect that Brandon wasn’t interested in him.
@Isaac C: Gotcha. Thanks for replying!
@Interesting: Not a single assumption you’ve made is warranted, and you’ve made a lot of them. You have absolutely no way of know whether I want this thug treated differently from the way I want other thugs to be treated, nor do you have any way to know that I want to “send a message”. In point of fact, both of those assertions are false, and that’s just a couple of the transparently weak spots in your pathetic rhetorical battle for a murderer.
All of your belittleing and namecalling (douche, circle jerk, mob, etc.) can’t make up for the fact that your “rational” reasoning isn’t rational or reasoned. It does however, demonstrate one reason why you might feel compelled to side with bullies and thugs rather than with victims. Regardless of the reasons though, both your argument and your methods are grotesque and contemptible.
And now that I’ve made my feelings about you and your argumentative talents as clear as can be, I am truly done conversing with you. Respond again, namecall all you like; unless your reply contains a sincere apology for the unconscionable things you’ve said here, you won’t get a reply. More of the same isn’t going to win any point for you or for the murderers you try to defend.
This sentence is almost as heartbreaking as the crime. Brandon does need to understand the seriousness of his actions and be given proportionate consequences but stripping him away from a huge chunk of his life is not that.
While we need to combat homophobia, this retaliation against this 14 year old child in order to send a message, is just as petty and unforgiving as the homophobes, themselves. We need to try and change people’s attitudes, not lock everyone up that has those attitudes. Locking away a 17 year old sends the message, once homophobic, always homophobic.
My heart goes out to Brandon. My heart goes out to Larry.
Taking a life is horrible enough but using that to justify stealing another life is just as revolting.
Hey people, think about this for a minute…..What Brandon did was totally wrong and he deserves to be punished, BUT Larry king was allowed by the school administration to act and dress the way he did, and then to sexually harass the other students. for a teacher and the other staff to allow him to wear makeup and high heels to school, and then a teacher gives him a dress, gave him carte blanch to do whatever the hell he wanted!! Brandon was humiliated to point of desperation, and no one did a damn thing about it–which is really pathetic, because now 2 young lives are ruined forever…..I personally believe that Brandon should have been tried as a juvenile because then that way he could have gotten the counseling he needed, but what will he get in prison??
What the hell is wrong with you people? I bet when this story first broke, you all wanted Brandon McInerney dead..Now when he gets a lenient (in my opinion) sentence, you’re all heartbroken over it. How ridiculous. When I was 14 I knew what a gun was, I knew the damage it could do, and obviously if this boy had the nerve to walk up to someone in public and shoot them in cold blood, he was prepared for the consequences. Get over it, I’m glad he’ll be rotting in prison.
NO justice was not served. Brandon murdered someone and it was clearly pre-meditated. He could have just as easily not murdered Larry or brought a gun to school and used it.
This 14yr old kid was being bullied and humiliated in front of his friends. We’ve seen this result in two ways: suicide or murder. I think the child obviously deserves a punishment, but he shouldn’t be tried as an adult. At 14 a child is still impulsive, easily provoked and not able to fully understand their actions. Any parent or teacher has witnessed just that. Why isn’t there any compassion here for this child who was also bullied? The bullying of both kids should have been properly addressed before it escalated to this. I think it’s tragic on both sides. One child has lost his life. While the other will lose the rest of his childhood and likely face abuse in prison. The problem is in this country we like to hand down long sentences. Why is this crime any more heinous than any other murder?
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