Brandon McInerney will be retried in Larry King's killing

Brandon McInerney (L) and Larry King (R) in photos from their E.O. Green Junior High yearbook.
Brandon McInerney (L) and Larry King (R) in photos from their E.O. Green Junior High yearbook.
E.O. Green Junior High

Southern California prosecutors will retry 17-year-old Brandon McInerney for the 2008 killing of his gay classmate, but have dropped allegations that the crime was motivated by hate.

The decision was announced Wednesday in Ventura County Superior Court by Judge Charles Campbell who set the new trial date to begin Nov. 21.

Campbell declared a mistrial last month after jurors couldn't agree on the degree of McInerney's guilt for killing 15-year-old Larry King. McInerney was 14 when he shot King two times in the back of the head during a computer class at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard.

The Los Angeles Times reports that McInerney’s defense attorneys have filed a motion asking that Judge Roger Campbell no longer act as judge on the controversial case.

Jurors convened four separate times before it became clear no verdict would be reached.

At the time, McInerney was accused of first degree murder, a charge that carried the potential of 50 years to life in prison. Jurors were also allowed to consider a conviction of voluntary manslaughter, which carried a maximum 21-year term. At final count, the jurors voted 7-5, respectively.

Arguments in the initial case, which contributed to the hung jury, swirled around the issue of whether or not the killing was motivated by hate.

During the trial psychologist Douglas Hoagland, a defense witness, said McInerney had "snapped" before shooting his classmate. Hoagland said McInerney went into a "transient period of disassociation" when he heard King had changed his name to Leticia. "He acted without thinking," Hoagland told the jury. "He was not aware of what he was doing."

Prosecutors countered the defense calling the shooting a hate crime and pointing to what they said was evidence that the murder was pre-meditated and motivated by white supremacist tendencies. "He intentionally got that gun; he told people what he was going to do," said Ventura County Deputy District Attorney Maeve Fox. "He shot and killed an innocent person."

During the trial Fox pointed to Nazi-inspired drawings found at the McInerney home and the copy of Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" discovered in McInerney's backpack the day of the shooting.

Fox says during the new trial McInerney will be tried an adult. The defendant's lawyers say juvenile court is more appropriate.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.