Retrial sought in gay student's slaying

Sept. 2, 2011 at 10:17 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- Prosecutors said Friday they plan to retry a student who fatally shot a gay classmate at a California junior high school.

Ventura County prosecutors called the shooting a premeditated murder and a hate crime, a day after a judge declared a mistrial in the case against 17-year-old Brandon McInerney in the death of Larry King at the Oxnard, Calif., school, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Seven jurors in the trial favored a voluntary manslaughter conviction and five first- or second-degree murder after, eight weeks of testimony and nearly 100 witnesses, many of them teachers and students at E.O. Green Junior High School. The jury forewoman told Superior Court Judge Charles Campbell it seemed "unlikely" the jury would reach a unanimous verdict if given more time.

Prosecutors said they're considering retrying McInerney, who was 14 at the time of the shooting in 2008, as an adult. King was 15.

McInerney shot King twice in the back of the head in February 2008 in a computer lab 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.

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

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