larry brandonThe trial has begun in the slaying of 15 year-old Larry King.  If you need a refresher on the details:

Brandon McInerney, now 17, is charged with murder in the 2008 shooting death of Lawrence King in a high-profile case that has rallied the gay community and triggered calls for greater protections of young homosexuals on school campuses.

King was bullied by McInerney and other boys at the school, Deputy Dist. Atty. Maeve Fox said in her opening statement in the trial, which is being conducted at a courthouse in Chatsworth. But shortly before his death, King had begun wearing high heels, makeup and earrings to school and had become more confident in himself, she said.

“Larry King for the first time in his life wasn’t taking it anymore,” Fox said. “And he started to give people what I prefer to call the proverbial chin. Only it was more profane. The proverbial ‘f … you.’”

McInerney allegedly mentioned that he was going to kill King the day before the murder occurred. Oh, but look at what the defense is doing:

McInerney’s lawyer, Scott Wippert, argued that King — and not his client — was the aggressor. He said King targeted McInerney for sexual harassment, making flirtatious remarks, and had humiliated him.

King was encouraged in his effeminate behavior and dress by school administrators who said he was within his rights to dress that way, Wippert said.

For his part, McInerney was “a confused, emotionally torn 14-year-old from a violent home who saw no other way out than to shoot Larry,” Wippert said. “It was a heat-of-the-moment decision.”

Gay panic. The suggestion that if a person feels uncomfortable because a gay person flirts with him, that murder is somehow on the spectrum of Reasonable Responses. I do remember from the days immediately after King’s murder that he did seem to have a crush of some sort on Brandon McInerney. That happens, especially in the formative years of high school.

My feeling on this case has always been that it was tragic all around — that a kid like Larry could be murdered in cold blood at school just for being who he is, and that a kid like Brandon could have been raised/neglected in such a way that he would feel justified in taking Larry’s life.  But the suggestion from the defense that a little 15 year-old gay boy who liked to wear make-up was the aggressor in a situation which resulted in his own murder is beyond disgusting.