On Thursday, 14-year-old Brandon
McInerney pleaded not guilty in the murder of 15-year-old Lawrence
King. He entered his plea in a Ventura County Superior Court where
his is being tried as an adult.
King was a 15-year-old boy attending
Oxnard, California's E.O. Green Junior High School. He told friends
and family he was gay, often wore makeup, once asked for a sex change
operation, and often hit on boys. On February 12th, after
asking McInerney to be his Valentine, he was shot twice in the head
during his 8th grade English class. He survived the
night, but died on Valentine's Day after being pronounced brain-dead.
“This is essentially a death sentence
for Brandon McInerney,” defense attorney William “Willy” Quest
told the Ventura County Star.
Quest is seeking to reduce the charges
against his client to manslaughter. McInerney would face a sentence
of six to 21 years if convicted of manslaughter. The current charges
of murder and hate crime require a minimum of 51 years to a maximum
of life with no time off for good behavior.
“That is the only way Brandon does
not die in prison,” Quest said on reducing the charge to
“If we thought it was manslaughter,
we would have filed it as manslaughter,” said Chief Assistant
District Attorney James Ellison. “We believe the crime is charged