A mistrial has been declared in the trial of a Ventura County teenager accused of shooting to death a classmate, in what prosecutors called a hate crime because the victim was gay.
After five days of deliberations, jurors told the judge in the trial of Brandon McInerney they were deadlocked. The 17-year-old was accused of the February, 2008 killing of Larry King, McInerney’s classmate at E.O. Green Juinor High School, in Oxnard.
Prosecutors tried McInerney as an adult, charging him with first degree murder, witha hate crime allegation. Defense attorneys admitted McInerney killed King, but say it happened because the victim had been sexually harassing the defendant.
After jurors said they were deadlocked, Ventura County Superior Court Judge Charles Campbell asked them to deliberate a little bit longer on Thursday (9-1) before polling them. They said they were split seven to five, with five voting for the lesser charge of manslaughter, and the other five calling for murder charges like first, or decond degree murder.
There’s no word yet from prosecutors about a retrial, but the defense team is hoping a plea deal for a lesser charge than first degree murder can be reached.