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Oxnard gay-student murder trial: Defense refutes white supremacist motive

July 22, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The trial continued on Friday for a 17-year-old who is being tried as an adult in the shooting death of a gay classmate at an Oxnard middle school.

The prosecution has tried to show that Brandon McInerney embraces white supremacy and anti-homosexual beliefs. On Friday the defense tried to present a different side of the teenager.

Much of the testimony centered around two corrections officers who watched over McInerney at Ventura County Juvenile Hall Facility where he has been housed since his arrest more than three years ago.

One officer was asked how he got along with the mostly minority inmates he was housed with.

"We don't get too many African-American kids in there but I have seen him interact with different nationalities and have relationships," said corrections officer Chris Niblett.

McInerney is charged with killing 15-year-old Lawrence King at E.O. Green Middle School in Feb. 2008. McInerney, who was 14 years old at the time of the shooting, shot King in the back of the head during their computer class.

McInerney's defense lawyers contend he did it, but not because King was gay. Both officers were shown security video of McInerney involved in three different fights at the juvenile hall. One of the officers says fights happen all the time.

"I know he has been in some fights, more than a handful," said Niblett.

A second corrections officer, Melissa Arguelles, was asked how well McInerney got along with other inmates and staff. Arguelles said he hangs out with everyone. She was also asked if McInerney ever showed any type of gang behavior.

"I have never seen him draw or have any type of a contraband stating that he is a gang member, or see him draw anything of a specific gang," said Arguelles.

If convicted of a murder charge with a hate crime enhancement, McInerney faces 53 years to life in prison.


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