A Southern California teenager pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree murder in the killing of a gay classmate in a deal that will send him to prison for 21 years, authorities said.
McInerney pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and use of a firearm, said Ventura County Chief Deputy District Attorney Mike Frawley. He’s scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 19.
A phone message left with defense attorney Robyn Bramson was not immediately returned.
The case had been expected to go to retrial following a September mistrial when jurors couldn’t reach a unanimous decision on the degree of guilt. The panel took a series of votes, the last one with seven in favor of voluntary manslaughter and five jurors supporting either first-degree or second-degree murder.
The case drew worldwide attention because of its shocking premise: McInerney, in a fit of homophobic rage, killed King at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard because he was offended by King’s dress and how the victim dealt with him. Comic Ellen DeGeneres, who is a lesbian, weighed in on her talk show shortly after the shooting and said gays shouldn’t be treated as second-class citizens.
Prosecutors contended McInerney embraced a white supremacist philosophy that sees homosexuality as an abomination. Defense attorneys claimed he reached an emotional breaking point after King made repeated, unwanted sexual advances.
Prosecutors had previously offered a plea deal that would have sent McInerney to prison for 25 years to life, but his attorneys passed.
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