Prosecutors' decision to charge Brandon McInerney, 14, as an adult in the shooting death of Larry King, 15, has divided the seaside town of Oxnard, Calif. McInerney is charged with premeditated murder and a hate crime in the killing of King, an openly gay eighth-grader.
The killing happened on Feb. 12, just minutes after school had begun. McInerney, a tall, athletic boy, pulled out a gun in a packed classroom. He then shot his classmate, 15-year-old Larry King, in the head.
Behind the tragedy is the story of two boys, both very different and both with troubled pasts. For the last four months of his life, King lived at Casa Pacifica, a home for abused and neglected children.
McInerney was a popular boy in school, a surfer and member of the Young Marines. Ventura County Sr. Deputy Public Defender Willie Quest says McInerney is also from a troubled home, which he described as a place of domestic violence. Both of McInerney's parents, Quest said, have addiction problems.
If tried as an adult, McInerney could face life in prison. If tried as a juvenile, he could be released when he turns 21. The public defender is planning to file a motion to have the case transferred to juvenile court.