UPDATE: Brandon McInerney will be held for trial. The judge has also decided he will be tried as an adult. END UPDATE
The pre-trial of 15 year old Brandon McInerney for the murder of 15 year old Lawrence King began on Monday. As reported here at the time of the killing, McInerney is believed to have walked directly up to King while he was in the computer lab at school and fire a fatal shot to his head. Prosecuters are arguing that McInerney was motivated by joint racist and homophobic sentiment learned while being recruited for a neo-nazi group operating in California. This argument hopes to establish a specific link to hate crime by creating a permanent link between the suspect and a clearly outlined hatred of difference backed by calls for violence articulated by neo-nazis rather than rely on an atmosphere of homophobia and transphobia in the school itself. According to articles about the murder, cited in my original posts on Larry, the school allegedly failed to act against ongoing harassment he received for both his wearing of make up and girl’s clothes.
The defense has countered with “gay/trans panic,” arguing that King made repeated unwanted advances at McInerney that he did not know how to handle and did not feel he was getting adequate help to stop. They are citing evidence of what many would characterize as self-defense against bullying by King, in which he engaged in verbal rejoinders to people mocking his gender and sexuality and also chased people calling out offenses comments to him, as proof King was the agressor. While this defense has proved successfully in many cases, including recent ones in California, it has recently been rejected in two high profile murders of trans women.
If the judge determines there is sufficient evidence to charge McInerney with the murder of Larry King at the end of these hearings, he will go on to trial. Pre-trial is expected to end today. Read more here.
image: McInerney. unattributed/AP