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Oxnard officers say teen slaying suspect admitted killing, apologized

At a pretrial hearing, police say Brandon McInerney, accused of killing classmate Larry King, who was gay, told them, 'I'm sorry I did it.'

July 21, 2009|Catherine Saillant

A few minutes after he allegedly gunned down his gay classmate, Oxnard junior high school student Brandon McInerney calmly allowed police to take him into custody, telling them, "I'm the one who did it," the officers testified in a Ventura courthouse Monday.

McInerney, who was 14 at the time, apologized repeatedly for allegedly gunning down Larry King, 15, a classmate who students said had pursued McInerney romantically, the officers testified.

"He said, 'I'm sorry, I did it, officer. I shot him,' " said Officer Joe Tinoco, of the Oxnard Police Department.

As Tinoco and Sgt. Peter Freiberg patted McInerney down, the eighth-grader told them he had left his weapon behind in the classroom, Tinoco said.

The surprising admission was one of several new details about the high-profile shooting that emerged in the first day of testimony at McInerney's pretrial hearing. McInerney, who is being tried as an adult, faces a first-degree murder charge for allegedly taking out a weapon as class got underway Feb. 12, 2008, and shooting King twice in the back of the head.

Prosecutors say it was a hate crime. But on Monday, defense attorney Scott Wippert repeatedly suggested that King provoked violent behavior by flirting on campus with McInerney while dressed in women's high-heeled boots, earrings and makeup.

The 4-foot, 11-inch King "sexually harassed" McInerney by openly declaring his affection for him and humiliating him with his attention, Wippert said.

"Did you ask about Larry making sexual overtures to other boys?" Wippert asked one detective.

As the tall, baby-faced defendant shifted uncomfortably next to his attorneys, prosecutor Maeve Fox put on a parade of investigators who testified that the youth told at least two students the day before the shooting that he was going to kill King.

One student, a female friend of King's, reportedly told Oxnard Police Sgt. Kevin Baysinger that McInerney sought her out the day before the shooting. McInerney reportedly told the girl, "Tell Larry goodbye because you're not going to see him again," Baysinger testified.

One of McInerney's friends told investigators that the youth said he was "going to kill" King. He told another friend that they should jump King and "shank" him.

None of the students reported the threats, apparently because they didn't take them seriously, investigators testified.

A crime-scene investigator said the weapon used in the shooting was a .22-caliber revolver. Another witness testified that detectives found a cache of weapons in an unlocked closet at McInerney's home.

The weapons reportedly belonged to his grandfather, William McInerney Sr.

Ammunition, an instructional DVD called "Shooting in Realistic Environments" and drawings of swatiskas were found in a bedroom that the defendant shared with an older brother stationed in Iraq, investigators said.

Students at the school told investigators that McInerney and King had been feuding for days over King's alleged romantic overtures.

The day before the shooting, the two were passing in a hall when King told McInerney, "Baby, I love you," detectives testified.

The comment angered McInerney, a friend reportedly told police.

On Feb. 12, McInerney sat in a chair directly behind King in Room 42 as King worked on an English report, students told investigators. When the first shot was fired, teacher Dawn Boldrin whirled around and yelled at McInerney.

A student identified as Mariah T told police that King slumped to his right after the first shot.

McInerney was holding the revolver with both hands and briefly made eye contact with her before stretching his arms out and shooting King a second time in the back of the head, Mariah T reportedly told investigators.

Then he dropped the weapon and walked out of the classroom. The two arresting officers caught up with him a few blocks away as he walked away from the school, talking on his cellphone, the officers said.

Testimony is expected to resume today.

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catherine.saillant@latimes.com

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