A Ventura County, California judge has ruled that the 14-year-old killer of gay teen Lawrence King will be tried as an adult.
Relying on past court decisions, a judge ruled Thursday that trying a 14-year-old boy accused of murder in an adult court does not violate the constitution, swatting down legal arguments raised by the boy’s attorney that it was cruel and unusual punishment to do so. “I cannot say that this is unconstitutional,” said Ventura County Superior Court Judge Douglas Daily. Teenage defendant Brandon McInerney of Oxnard is charged with first-degree murder and a hate crime in connection with the Feb. 12 killing of classmate Larry King, 15, who sometimes wore makeup and told friends he was gay.
McInerney’s mother fled the court in tears. Per a 2000 California constitutional amendment, prosecutors have much more authority over whether to pursue adult charges against youthful offenders. This decision comes as a blow to the broad coalition of LGBT and progressive groups who pleaded in April for a juvenile court trial for McInerney.