The Ventura County District Attorney’s office says it will retry a Ventura County teenager accused of killing a gay classmate, in what they called a hate crime.
Yesterday, a mistrial was declared in the trial of 17-year-old Brandon McInerney, who was charged with first degree murder, and a hate crime charge in the February, 2008 shooting death of Larry King at E.O. Green Junior High School, in Oxnard.
The jury split seven to five, with seven jurors calling for a manslaughter conviction, and the other five wanting a conviction on a bigger charge, like first or second degree murder.
District Attorney Greg Totten says he was disappointed in the ruling, but is determined to hold McInerney accountable for the killing. In a written statement, the D-A’s office also defended the controversial decision to try McInerney as an adult, saying that if he was convicted as a juvenile, he would be released after seven to ten years in prison. Prosecutors called it a premediated killing, and tried to show McInerney had white supremacist beliefs.
Defense attorney Scott Wippert said that he’s hoping that a plea deal can be worked out, to prevent another painful trial. The just completed trial last ten weeks, and many classmates, and teachers took the stand to recount the circumstances surrounding the killing. The defense team admitted McInerney was responsible for the killing, but say it was a reaction by him to being sexually harassed by King.
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