mcinerney kingJim Burroway summarizes the end of this tragic story:

Brandon McInerney, who was a fourteen-year-old Oxnard Middle School student when he shot Larry King in school at point blank range in 2008, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and the use of a fire arm in a plea deal which will result in a 21 year prison term in addition to time served. Under the terms of his plea deal, McInerney, who is now 17, will be released shortly before his 39th birthday. McInerney will be formally sentenced on December 19.

McInerney’s plea deal comes after a mistrial was declared in his first trial after jurors were unable to reach a verdict. They had deadlocked at 7 to 5 in favor of finding McInerney guilty of voluntary manslaughter, with the five holding out for either second or first degree murder.

One boy’s life is over and another one’s life might as well be, as [let’s be real here] when Brandon gets out of jail, the likelihood of him going on to a really successful life is slim. Jim goes on to quote Eliza Byard of the Gay & Lesbian Education Network, who captures some of my feelings about this in pointing out that, though the sentence for McInerney is necessary, the underlying problems that led to this event are not solved. Fear and hatred ended Larry King’s life, and kids aren’t born with that. Here’s part of Eliza’s quote:

Homophobia and transphobia, compounded by the lack of counseling and other supports for struggling young people, resulted in Larry King’s death and the effective end of Brandon McInerney’s life. As adults and as a society, we must find the resolve to fix the broken systems that lost two young lives to hate and fear.

This just didn’t have to happen, and my heart breaks for everyone involved.