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Oxnard teen to be retried in fatal shooting; hate crime dropped

October 5, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A retrial date has been set for an Oxnard teenager accused of fatally shooting his gay classmate.

The decision was made in a hearing in Ventura County Superior Court on Wednesday for 17-year-old Brandon McInerney, who was charged with first-degree murder in the 2008 shooting of 15-year-old Larry King.

McInerney will again be tried as an adult. The retrial for first-degree murder is set for Nov. 21.

The trial ended in a deadlock on Sept. 2 after the jury was unable to reach a verdict.

McInerney is accused of shooting and killing gay classmate Lawrence King during their computer class at an E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard in February 2008. McInerney was 14 at the time of the shooting; King was 15.

The prosecution wouldn't talk about strategy this time around. What will be different in the second trial is that a hate-crime allegation has been taken off the table.

"No, we're not going to get into any explanations," said Mike Frawley, Ventura County deputy district attorney. "That's just how we're going to proceed."

McInerney's defense team has always said that this case should have been tried in juvenile court, not in adult court. They still feel that way.

"To the extent that they've still charged the murder and the lying in wait, it's ridiculously overcharged," said defense attorney Robyn Bramson.

"It's still overcharged. Absolutely it's overcharged. This should not be in adult court; given that it is in adult court, it certainly shouldn't be charged as a first-degree murder," said defense attorney Scott Wippert.

If this were tried in juvenile court, McInerney would not be facing the possibility of a life sentence. He could serve his sentence in a juvenile facility and be released when he's a young adult.

Neither side closed the door on the possibility of a plea deal.

After Wednesday's hearing, King's family left without making a statement to reporters. McInerney's mother left weeping, also not talking to reporters.

Some of the jurors in the first trial were at the courthouse to support McInerney. One said this case should not be tried in adult court.

"He shouldn't have been tried as an adult. He was not an adult, and it still continues," said former juror Nancy Shuman.

Will the trial take place in Ventura County? The previous trial was moved to Chatsworth in Los Angeles County due to media coverage.

The prosecution has indicated they want McInerney tried in Ventura County. The defense said they want a place where they believe their client would get a fair trial.


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