The father of an Oxnard teenager accused of gunning down a gay classmate was found dead Wednesday, the day his son was scheduled to appear in court to determine if he would face a trial, Ventura County authorities said.
Bill McInerney, 45, was discovered shortly before 8 a.m. in the living room of his Silver Strand home by a friend who arrived to drive him to court, said James Baroni, Ventura County's chief deputy medical examiner.
McInerney's 15-year-old son, Brandon, is accused of murder and a hate crime in the Feb. 12, 2008, shooting death of classmate Lawrence "Larry" King, 15. The two boys had been sparring in the days before the killing, allegedly because King had expressed a romantic interest in the younger McInerney.
Brandon McInerney is being tried as an adult and was scheduled to begin a preliminary hearing Wednesday. That hearing was postponed after Bill McInerney's body was found.
Michael Tellez, a Ventura County deputy medical examiner, said an autopsy revealed that McInerney sustained an accidental head injury from a fall. Based on the scene and the man's history, Tellez said, alcohol was a significant factor.
Toxicology tests will determine blood alcohol content and whether other substances were in his blood, Tellez said.
Baroni said there was no sign of foul play or suicide at the father's home.
"Nothing at the scene was a red flag," he said.
Court records showed that the elder McInerney was facing felony charges of making criminal threats against his sister, Maura McInerney. He was also charged with possessing a firearm within 10 years of a domestic violence conviction, records show.
The local blogosphere exploded upon news of the father's untimely death. King's killing has spurred heated debate in Ventura County about whether it is appropriate to try Brandon McInerney as an adult.
"Please pray for Brandon McInerney and his family, AS WELL as the family of Larry King," read one comment in response to a story about Bill McInerney's death in the Ventura County Star.
"Karma is coming around for Brandon early," another said.