That’s Danny Lockin.
This is Brandon McInerney’s defense team.
“Brandon expressly asked us to say that”
Suuurrre he did.
52 days of criminal proceedings, 18 hours of jury deliberation, and THIS is the result.
“A judge on Thursday declared a mistrial in the case of California teen who shot a gay classmate in the back of the head during a computer lab class as stunned classmates looked on.”
Can we say “Collateral Damage” boys and girls? Of course we can.
“Jurors were unable to reach a unanimous decision on the degree of Brandon McInerney’s guilt for killing 15-year-old Larry King. The nine-woman, three-man panel said they took a series of votes — the last one with seven in favor of voluntary manslaughter and five jurors supporting either first-degree or second-degree murder.”
The option of manslaughter and second-degree murder was added by the judge once the trial got underway. It was obviously disruptive to the jurors and therefore supremely helpful to the defense.
“Prosecutors now have to decide whether to re-file murder and hate crime charges against McInerney, now 17, who was tried as an adult. They had offered a plea deal of 25 years to life if he pleaded guilty, but his lawyers passed. A first-degree murder conviction carried a maximum sentenced of more than 50 years in prison.”
50 years sounds about right to me.
“King’s family rushed out of the courtroom after the judge declared a mistrial. They looked horrified and confused and declined comment as sheriff’s deputies escorted them to an elevator.”
Well they were horrified and confused by their adopted son so this is nothing new.
“McInerney’s friends said prosecutors tried to sensationalize the case by calling it a hate crime by a budding white supremacist.
“This should have never gone to trial,” family friend Craig Adams said outside of court. “The fact they pushed him to try him as an adult was the real crime.”
“One juror, who identified himself only as juror no. 10, told The Associated Press that several members of the panel thought McInerney should never have been tried as an adult.
“I don’t think so,” the juror said, when asked if the district attorney should have pursued an adult prosecution. “He was 14. Just trying to get in the head of a 14 year old (is hard.)”
Brandon McInerney didn’t find it hard to get into Lawrence King’s head. He did it with two bullets fired at point blank range into the back of said head..
“Ventura County prosecutor Maeve Fox contended McInerney, then 14, embraced a white supremacist philosophy that sees homosexuality as an abomination. Police found Nazi-inspired drawings and artifacts at his house, and a white supremacist expert testified the hate-filled ideology was the reason for the killing.”
And Brandon’s brother said the white supermacists tracts were his — collected he claimed for some class project or other.
This was a mistake on the prosecution’s part, but one can easily see why it was made. Identifying Brandon as a white supermacist supplies a “reason” for his homophobia while keeping it at a distance from the jurors. IOW only a white supermacist can be a homophobe. This is of course nonsense. And the defense was celarly aware of this, carefully picking their female-dominated jury to make sure a majority of ‘phobes (ie. “Christians”) were on it.
“Fox also argued the attack was premeditated, noting at least six people heard McInerney make threats against King in the days leading to the shooting.”
Which was more to the point.
“She said McInerney told a psychologist hired by defense lawyers that he wanted to kill King after he passed McInerney in a school hallway and said, “What’s up, baby?”
“He’s basically confessed to first-degree murder in this case,” Fox said during her closing argument.
Defense attorneys acknowledged McInerney was the shooter but explained that he had reached an emotional breaking point after King made repeated, unwanted sexual advances. McInerney snapped when he heard moments before the shooting that King wanted to change his name to Latisha, the lawyers said.”
Clearly changing one’s name to Latisha is a killing offense.
“The defense psychologist said he was in a dissociative state — acting without thinking — when he pulled the trigger at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, a city about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles.”
Though he was associative enough to get the gun, birng it to school and shoot King before his classmates.
“McInerney’s lawyers also said he suffered physical abuse at home from his father, who has since died, and didn’t receive the proper supervision that would have kept him out of trouble. They said the Nazi imagery was part of a school project on tolerance.”
Of which he had none.
“He is guilty and he should be held responsible, but he is not a murderer. He is not a white supremacist,” defense attorney Scott Wippert said during his closing argument. “He is a 14-year-old child who didn’t know what to do and had no one to guide him.”
“Outside court, Wippert said jurors had told him they weren’t convinced by prosecutors’ assertions the killing was a hate crime.
“We are quite confident that none of the jurors believed this was a hate crime,” he said. “This was a difficult decision for all of them.”
“McInerney did not take the stand during the nine-week trial. To find McInerney guilty of voluntary manslaughter, jurors had to find him not guilty of first- and second-degree murder. They began deliberating last Friday.
The school administration has been accused of being more concerned about defending King’s civil rights than recognizing that his behavior and what he wore — high heels, makeup and feminine clothing — made other students uncomfortable.”
“Larry King was, admittedly, a problematical test case: he was a troubled child who flaunted his sexuality and wielded it like a weapon—it was often his first line of defense.”
IOW, the murder victim was the perp — a line the defense jumped on enthusiastically.
“The obvious question now is whether Larry’s death could have been prevented. “Absolutely,” says Dannenberg. “Why do we have youngsters that have access to guns? Why don’t we have adequate funding to pay for social workers at the school to make sure students have resources? We have societal issues.” Many teachers and parents aren’t content with that answer. For them, the issue isn’t whether Larry was gay or straight—his father still isn’t convinced his son was gay—but whether he was allowed to push the boundaries so far that he put himself and others in danger. They’re not blaming Larry for his own death—as if anything could justify his murder—but their attitude toward his assailant is not unsympathetic. “We failed Brandon,” a teacher says. “We didn’t know the bullying was coming from the other side—Larry was pushing as hard as he could, because he liked the attention.”
And to top it all off –
“Greg King doesn’t feel sympathy for Brandon, but he does believe his son sexually harassed him. He’s resentful that the gay community has appropriated his son’s murder as part of a larger cause. “I think the gay-rights people want it to be a gay-rights issue, because it makes a poster child out of my son,” King says. “That bothered me. I’m not anti-gay. I have a lot of co-workers and friends who are gay.”
Yeah sure. Every ‘phobe has an imaginary gay friend.
Back to the trial autopsy.
“The shooting roiled gay-rights advocates and parents in Oxnard. They wondered why school officials hadn’t done more to stop the harassment against King by students, including McInerney.
The case labored in the court system for more than three years as McInerney’s lawyers sought numerous delays. Campbell was eventually persuaded to move the trial from Ventura County to neighboring Los Angeles County because of extensive news coverage that threatened to bias jurors.
King’s family sued the school district for failing to protect their son. The lawsuit is pending.”
And I for one have no hopes for it.
“After the mistrial was declared and jurors left the room, McInerney turned and smiled at his family. When he spotted his former girlfriend, Samantha Cline, sitting in a back row, he threw her a kiss.”
Well isn’t that special?
Will there be a retrial or a “plea deal”? We’ll have to see. But for all of those who’ve been whining that Murder One was inappropriate and the little shit should have been tried for manslaughter I’d like to remind them of someone I’ve blogged about before — Danny Lockin.
Surely the facts speak for themselves.
“On Sunday, August 21, 1977, Danny’s mother drove Danny to a taping of The Gong Show, a popular TV show which featured assorted talent competitions, some competitors were seriously talented, and some of them silly or bizarre. Danny and Billie Jo Conway, another of Danny’s mother’s dance instructors, had been invited to compete on the show. They did well– Danny and Billie Jo tied for first place. After the show, Danny told his mother to go on home without him- that he would catch a ride home with Billie Jo. On the way home, Danny and Billie Jo decided to stop at a Garden Grove bar for a drink to celebrate their victory. Danny was later seen leaving the bar with Charles Leslie Hopkins, 34, who was described as a slight, bearded, former medical clerk.
Later that night, police were called by Hopkins to his Westminster apartment to report that a man had robbed him. When they arrived at his apartment, they discovered Danny’s bloody body- he had been stabbed almost 100 times. Police arrested Hopkins and charged him with Danny’s murder. At the time of the arrest, police discovered a pornographic magazine which had pictures of torture/sex orgies in it. They also confiscated several “instruments” that they believed were used to stab Danny. The coroners report stated that Danny had bled to death, and that only six of the stab wounds had been fatal. It also stated that Danny had even been stabbed repeatedly after he had died. Danny’s body was unidentified until Wednesday, August 24th, when Danny’s mother was notified of his murder.
On August 27, prosecutors charged Hopkins with first degree murder by torture, and he was held on $200,000.00 bail in Orange County jail. If found guilty , Hopkins could have received the death penalty. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Sept 12th in Municipal Court, at which time a trial date of January 9, 1978 was set. Prosecutors felt that they could show that the torture/sex book had been used by Hopkins as a “script” for Danny’s alleged “murder-by-torture” and served to motivate the attack.
Unfortunately, the trial was delayed because of a leg injury suffered in an automobile accident by Deputy Public Defender Walter Zech. During the delay, a decision was made by the US Supreme Court limiting the seizure of evidence at a crime scene without obtaining a search warrant. Police had failed to obtain permission to search the apartment and take items from it because they believed they were already responding to a call to investigate a death. Judge Robert P. Kneeland ruled on July 30th, 1978, that in light of the Supreme Court ruling, the sex/torture book would not be admissible as evidence. Without the book to use to prove premeditation, there was a question of whether the prosecutors would focus on first degree murder or a lesser charge.“
You can guess what came next, can’t you?
“On September 28, 1978, Charles Hopkins had a trial before Judge Kneeland, but no jury. He testified that Danny had been at his apartment, but had left. He said he woke up later to find Danny’s mutilated body in his apartment, but did not know how the body got there. Prosecutor Bryan Brown tried unsuccessfully to get a murder conviction in the case. Hopkins was found guilty of only voluntary manslaughter, and sentenced to only four years in state prison. The inadmissibility of the book played a key role in the manslaughter conviction. Judge Kneeland increased the sentence one year from the usual three years, after taking the sex/torture book into consideration. Brown stated that Hopkins would receive credit for the year he had already served in jail, and could be out in as little as two years with good behavior.”
See how manslaughter works? Neat, hunh?
“Hopkins died in 2006. He suffered from lung cancer, but the cause of death was a heart attack.
Danny was only 34 years old when he was so brutally murdered, for no apparent reason. The man who was charged with the crime escaped the first degree murder sentence- due to a US Supreme Court decision which occurred during a delay in the trial. It was truly a travesty of justice! Danny had been teaching dance, writing a play, and recorded an album prior to his murder. He had so much more he could have done. His great talent and gentle nature will be missed by so many. He was buried in Westminster Memorial Park cemetery, in Orange county. For those who are in the area, and wish to pay their respects, Danny’s grave is in Block 29, section 219, grave 4. He lies under under a simple stone that reads :
Daniel J. Lockin
Full of shine and full of sparkle. Right Barnaby?