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In Case of 15-Year-Old Gay Student's Killing, Closing Arguments to Begin
Closing arguments are set to begin today in the case of Brandon McInerney, a 17-year-old Oxnard boy accused of shooting his classmate Larry King to death in 2008, reports ABC 7. The trial has generated a great deal of national attention and controversy, in large part because King was gay. TIME reports that McInerney's defense has attempted to build a case around the notion that the defendant was provoked by King's actions to do what an entire classroom witnessed: sit behind King in class, pull a handgun out of his bag, and shoot King twice in the back of the head.
Defense attorney Scott Wippert has said that King taunted McInerney, and that McInerney's abusive home contributed to his violent actions:
Wippert says King's advances amounted to sexual harassment and were partly responsible for the shooting. Witnesses have said King came to school wearing women's accessories like make-up and high-heeled boots and made flirtatious comments to McInerney such as "Love you baby!"
The defense has even called witnesses in to testify about the way King dressed at school.
But the prosecution is calling bullshit. They say that defense attorneys are relying almost completely on victim-blaming and a culture of pervasive homophobia:
"This entire defense is built on a bias against the victim, and this hope that people will buy into the fact that the way he was and they way he dressed was so provoking that a reasonable person would have reacted the way the defendant did," [Prosecutor Maeve] Fox said in court. "It's tragic and nauseating at the same time."
A recent LA Times article also examined whether the school should have done more to prevent King from dressing the way that he wanted to dress, implying that maybe if he had looked...a little less gay, we have to assume?...he wouldn't have been killed:
One teacher after another has testified in the murder trial about their deep worries that King's feminine attire and taunting behavior could provoke problems — and that E.O. Green Junior High administrators ignored them.
Because forcing kids to repress their sexuality is clearly the way to keep everyone safe.