Will You Feel Sorry For Lawrence King’s Killer If It Turns Out He Was Horribly Abused?

According to testimony in the Lawrence King trial, Brandon McInerney—the kid who shot King in the back of the head—was sexually molested by his cousin and was physically and verbally abused by his father. While this certainly doesn’t excuse McInerney’s murder of King, will it at least elicit sympathy from the jury?

According to McInerney’s aunt Megan Csorba, she saw her brother Billy “sit on his son until he couldn’t breathe, pull his thumb back until he screamed and punch him in the face.” She also said that McInerney’s mom smoked meth while pregnant with Brandon, that his parents regularly did crystal for days on end at loud drug-fueled parties where his father’s weed-smoking and pill-popping only increased his wrath against his son.

McInerney’s older half-brother, James Bing, said that the regular beatings included “their dad putting Tabasco sauce in their mouths while they slept and beating them with a bar of soap inside a sock.” He also said that McInerney’s father used to punch his son as hard as he could in the gut and belittle Brandon, threatening to send him to a Young Marines military school where he would, “never see the light of day again.” McInerney’s father, William, died on the morning of his son’s preliminary hearing by falling and hitting his head while drunk.

Bing also testified that, after the shooting, McInerney’s father told him that a cousin sexually abused Brandon when he was a child. (Um, we’re no F. Lee Bailey, but isn’t that heresay?)

Look, it’s possible to deplore McInerney’s crime and still have pity for the horrible suffering he endured as a child. But should that abuse mitigate the life sentence he may receive if convicted as adult on first-degree murder and hate-crime charges? Only the jury can answer that.