17-year-old Brandon McInerney on Monday
pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of gay teen Lawrence King,
the AP reported.
The plea comes just two months after a
judge in California declared a mistrial after jurors could not decide
whether McInerney, then 14, deserved to be convicted of voluntary
manslaughter or first-degree murder.
McInerney pleaded guilty to the murder
charge and one count each of voluntary manslaughter and use of a
firearm, which will send him to prison for 21 years and avoid a
retrial. He is scheduled to be sentenced on December 19.
King, 15, was shot twice in the back of
the head during an E.O. Green Junior High School computer class on
the morning of February 12, 2008. He died in the hospital on
During the trial, defense lawyers
argued that McInerney suffered abuse at the hands of his drug-abuser
father, and didn't deserve to be tried as an adult.
Family members testified that the
McInerneys divorced in 2000 amid allegations of spousal abuse and
drug addiction, and that the father, who has subsequently committed
suicide, often humiliated his son in public.
King told friends and family he was gay
and often wore makeup to school. Students testified that he either
had a crush on McInerney or delighted in teasing the boy, asking him,
“What's up baby?” the day before King's murder.