The defense lawyer of Lawrence King’s murderer is blaming the school for playing a role in the crime because they did not stop King from coming to school in feminine attire and did not intervene when King flirted with Brandon McInerney.
As 14-year-old Brandon McInerney prepares to be arraigned today in the slaying of 15-year-old Lawrence “Larry” King at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, his lawyer is advancing a defense that at least partly blames school officials for the tragedy.
Educators should have moved aggressively to quell rising tensions between the two boys, which began when King openly flirted with McInerney, said Deputy Public Defender William Quest.
Instead, administrators were so intent on nurturing King as he explored his sexuality, allowing him to come to school wearing feminine makeup and accessories, that they downplayed the turmoil that his behavior was causing on campus, Quest said.
On Feb. 12, McInerney shot King in the back of the head with a handgun as first-period classes were beginning, according to police. McInerney’s inability to see another way to solve his problem is partly the fault of the school system, his attorney said.
“Brandon is not some crazed lunatic,” Quest said. “This was a confluence of tragic events that could have been stopped. If there is partial blame in other places, let’s not throw away Brandon for the rest of his life.”
The principal at the school said that King was constitutionally entitled to dress as he did and that the school was aware of the ill feelings between King and McInerney and were “dealing with it appropriately.”
McInerney remains in custody at Juvenile Hall in lieu of $700,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court today to enter a plea. That may be delayed if the judge rules on his lawyer’s motion to have him tried as a juvenile, a motion that has been supported by a broad coalition of LGBT groups.