Photo: Lawrence King, 2006
In 2008, 14-year-old Brandon McInerney reportedly shot 15-year-old Lawrence “Larry” Fobes King point-blank in the head after Larry asked him to be his Valentine. Larry, who was openly gay from age 10, liked to wear makeup and girls’ clothes to school and as a result was the victim of intense bullying.
Like so many bully-victims, Larry also bullied others — including Brandon McInerney, who he would allegedly tease by telling him, “You know you want me” and “I love you.” As a result of Larry’s taunts, other students also started to bully Brandon. When Larry asked Brandon to be his Valentine, it was the final straw, and on Feb 12, 2008, in the computer lab of their Ventura County junior high school, Brandon allegedly ended Larry’s short life by putting two bullets in the back of his head.
Brandon McInerney’s trial starts today in San Fernando Valley, just a few months shy of his 18th birthday. If convicted for the charges of first-degree murder, he will spend the rest of his life in prison.
For the past several months I have been writing a fictionalized account of the events leading up to the murder in a young adult novel. Although at times the process has been arduous, each day when I sit down to write, I pray to Larry for inspiration and hope that when the book is finally released it will help increase compassion and empathy for the Larry in all of us.
I expect justice to be served, but in my opinion, that doesn’t necessarily mean imprisoning Brandon for the rest of his life. He should pay for his crime, but he should also have the chance to be rehabilitated. The system, and his society, owe him at least that. Because there is truly no punishment darker than the imprisonment of one’s mind.