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Teacher testifies in Oxnard gay-student murder trial

July 11, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A teacher testified Monday in the murder trial of Brandon McInerney, accused of fatally shooting a classmate.

Brandon McInerney, 17, is charged with fatally shooting a gay student in a junior high classroom.

Some of Monday's testimony included Oxnard police officers who reported what students told them McInerney planned to do the day before the fatal shooting. A former teacher and a school administrator testified about the victim's appearance returning from winter break a few weeks before he was killed.

In court Monday, two Oxnard police officers testified that students told them that McInerney said he was brining a gun to school the day before he shot 15-year-old Lawrence King in February 2008.

McInerney was 14 at the time of the shooting. The shooting happened at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard during a class King and McInerney had together. McInerney is accused of shooting King in the back of the head in the classroom.

McInerney is being charged as an adult for first-degree murder with a hate-crime enhancement.

The prosecution says McInerney shot King because he was gay, adding that went against McInerney's alleged white supremacist beliefs. McInerney's defense is arguing that the shooting was not premeditated.

The defense is trying to get the charge reduced to voluntary manslaughter, arguing that the shooting happened in the heat of the moment.

Some students testified that they heard King call McInerney "baby" in the hallway at school.

Much of Monday's testimony was about Lawrence King's appearance after students returned from winter break in 2008.

"The one time I recall, there was blue eye-shadow, maybe blush,' said science teacher Martha Romero

An assistant principal testified that she noticed the change is King's appearance, hearing students snicker at the way he was dressed.

She said she talked to King about her concerns about a pair of high-heeled boots he was wearing.

"He had some brown boots that were -- he was wobbly in them. He wasn't walking steadily in them, and I told him that due to a safety precaution I felt that those shoes were not OK for him to be wearing at school," said former assistant principal Joy Epstein

McInerney was described by his former science teacher as "excellent" when it came to his attitude and politeness in her class.

If convicted on the first-degree murder charge, McInerney could face up to life in prison.


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