LOS ANGELES – Brandon McInerney said he planned to bring a gun to school a day before he shot and killed a gay student in a Ventura County junior high school classroom, a friend testified at his murder trial.
The student, identified only as Keith L., took the stand Thursday in the Los Angeles trial. He said McInerney’s face turned red after 15-year-old victim Larry King called him “baby” in a crowded hallway at E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard.
“That’s how he gets when he’s mad,” the friend said. “Both embarrassed and mad.”
Prosecutors have said that King actually said, “I love you, baby.”
After class, the friends met again.
“He told me he was going to bring his gun the next day” Keith L. said, adding that he did not report the comment because he thought his friend was joking.
On Feb. 12, 2008, McInerney was sitting behind King in computer class when he pulled a .22-caliber handgun and shot him twice in the head.
McInerney, now 17, is charged as an adult with murder and a hate crime. He could face life in prison if convicted. Prosecutors contend he was a white supremacist who shot King, in part, because he was gay.
The defense claims McInerney snapped after King repeatedly propositioned him and should face voluntary manslaughter rather than murder.
Keith, who is black, said his friend never showed any sign of racism. He and others testifying Thursday also said that King repeatedly made flirtatious or taunting comments to McInerney.
King had taken to wearing makeup and effeminate clothing and often was insulted, tripped or avoided by other boys, students testified.