Last night, HBO aired Valentine Road, a documentary about the 2008 murder of Lawrence ("Larry") King, a 15-year-old gay student who asked then-14-year-old Brandon McInerney to be his Valentine. The day after, McInerney brought a gun to school and shot King twice in the head in a computer lab. King died two days later.
Marta Cunningham's doc does an amazing job at conveying the environment that could help foster such a disturbing murder, and describing how difficult it was to convict McInerney of a hate crime (facing a second trial after his first was a mistrial, he ultimately pled guilty to second degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and use of a gun).
"They made a murder victim the cause of his own murder. I've never seen that before," said Homicide detective Jeff Kay. Much was made of King's flamboyance (he wore makeup and dresses) and supposed sexual aggression toward McInerney. At times, the word "bully" was used to describe King, a dead boy. As King's seventh grade teacher at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, California, Shirley Brown, says, "I do believe in a heaven and a hell, and I do believe Larry honestly did not have a clue, honestly, the consequences of his actions. I relate to Brandon because I could see my own self being in that very same position. I don't know if I would have taken a gun, but a good, swift kick in the butt might work really well." Then she laughs. Then she twists her face up when describing a peaceful memorial demonstration that she labels "gay pride," which happened outside the school following King's death. Were there fewer people who related to a murderer in that school, there probably wouldn't have needed to be a demonstration in the first place.
If that clip hasn't turned your stomach sufficiently, check out the one below, in which pro-McInerney jurors bend over backward to give the kid, a murderer, the benefit of the doubt.
Here are some of McInerney's doodles "combining symbolisms" that they are describing, while denying the possibility of him being a white supremacist (King, by the way, was mixed race):
McInerney is serving a 21-year sentence in prison.