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Mistrial declared in gay student's slaying

Sept. 1, 2011 at 10:20 PM

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- A judge declared a mistrial after jurors failed to reach a unanimous verdict in a case of a student who shot a gay classmate at a California junior high school.

The jury voted 7-5 Thursday in favor of finding 17-year-old Brandon McInerney guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the death of 15-year-old Larry King in a computer lab at the junior high school in Oxnard, Calif., the Los Angeles Times reported.

Jurors had begun deliberating Friday after hearing eight weeks of testimony and nearly 100 witnesses, many of them teachers and students at E.O. Green Junior High School.

When Superior Court Judge Charles Campbell asked whether the jury could reach a decision if it had more time, the forewoman replied, "I suppose it's possible" but said it seemed "unlikely."

The trial had been closely watched by gay-rights groups seeking to protect gay and transgendered students from school bullying.

McInerney, then 14, shot King twice in the back of the head in February 2008 in what the prosecution called a calculated murder committed in part because McInerney was exploring white supremacist ideology and didn't like homosexuals.

Defense attorneys said McInerney had been sexually harassed by King, who had begun wearing makeup and girl's boots to school.

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