In the wake of a judge's declaration of
a mistrial in the case of Brandon McInerney accused of killing gay
student Lawrence King, gay groups say one thing remains clear:
Homophobia is to blame.
King is the 15-year-old E.O. Green
Junior High School student who liked to say he was gay, wear makeup
to school and taunt boys. McInerney, 17, is accused of murdering
During the 8-week trial, over 100
witnesses, including many students and teachers from King's school in
Oxnard, California, testified.
Jurors deadlocked on whether McInerney,
then 14, deserved to be convicted of voluntary manslaughter or
Defense lawyers have not denied that
McInerney killed King with two bullets to the back of the boy's head
in a computer classroom on the morning of February 12, 2008, but they
argued during the trial that McInerney suffered at the hands of his
drug-abuser father and didn't deserve to be tried as an adult.
“This was always destined to be a
case with little resolution and no winners, whatever the verdict,”
said GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard in a statement. “The
central facts remain the same: homophobia killed Larry King and
destroyed Brandon McInerney's life, and adults failed both young men
because of their own inability to deal forthrightly and
compassionately with the multiple challenges they each faced.”
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest gay rights group, expressed a similar sentiment.
“It's up to the adults around
children to call out that early behavior and prejudice, and to
explain that the differences among us are part of what makes us
strong: that being different is not something to attack,” HRC
President Joe Solmonese said in a statement. “If Lawrence or
Brandon had lived in that world, their lives might not have collided
in tragedy and death.”