LOS ANGELES – Defense attorneys rested their case on Monday without calling on their 17-year-old client, who is accused of murdering a gay classmate at a junior high school three years ago.
Attorneys for Brandon McInerney haven't disputed that he shot and killed Larry King, 15, in the back of the head during a computer class at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard. They contend McInerney snapped because Larry made unwanted sexual advances toward him.
McInerney, who is being tried as an adult, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and hate crime charges, which carry a maximum sentence of at least 51 years in prison. A lesser conviction of voluntary manslaughter carries a 21-year maximum term.
The case has brought national attention to the issue of violence against gays. The trial was moved to Los Angeles County because of pretrial publicity.
Prosecutors are expected to call a rebuttal witness. They say the slaying was premeditated because McInerney told a friend the day before the shooting he was going to kill Larry.
They also contend McInerney was a budding white supremacist who was intrigued by Nazi-related propaganda and other racist groups also intolerant of homosexuals.
The school's principal has been scrutinized for allegedly being more concerned about defending Larry's civil rights than recognizing that his behavior made other students uncomfortable.
Last week, McInerney's lawyers sought to disqualify Ventura County Superior Court Judge Charles Campbell because they feel he was not being fair. They were unsuccessful in trying to remove Campbell before the trial began.
It was not unclear when closing arguments will be scheduled.