WHAT’S BREWING: King family banned from court and marriage equality grows

Larry King

1. The Lawrence King murder trial got heated yesterday as the victim’s mother was banned from the rest of the trial, according to the LA Times. A teacher testified that she had given King a formal gown. As the King family stormed out of the courtroom, the victim’s mother whispered an expletive at the teacher, which got her banned from the courtroom.

2. Marriage equality has come to part of the Northwest. The Suquamish Tribal Council in Washington state voted this week to recognize same-sex marriage. The new law allows the tribal court to issue a marriage license to two adults. The rest of the state does not have marriage equality but recognizes marriages performed elsewhere.

3. New Jersey’s largest newspaper, the Newark Star Ledger, which has been a supporter of same-sex marriage, said that Gov. Chris Christie should do what Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York did. He should heed the polls that show that a majority of people in New Jersey support equality and should push a same-sex marriage bill through the legislature.

—  David Taffet

Opening arguments in Lawrence King murder trial

Lawrence King, two years before his murder

Opening arguments were heard today in the case of Brandon McInerney, who is accused of shooting his classmate Lawrence King in Oxnard, Calif., in February 2008. The murder took place in a computer classroom in front of 24 classmates.

King, 15, was openly gay.

McInerney’s attorney is using gay panic as a defense. They said their witnesses will testify that King showed romantic interest in McInerney, which humiliated the shooter.

The prosecution will try to show that the two students argued days before the murder but that a gay kid who was bullied in school wasn’t stalking skinhead bullies around campus. King, who had begun wearing makeup and jewelry to school, became the target of bullying. Even if King had expressed interest in McInerney, it wouldn’t be a justification for murder.

According to the LA Times, one student will testify that the day before the murder, McInerney said he was going to shoot King. That would prove premeditation.

After McInerney shot King in the head, he ran from the school and was caught several blocks away. He has not denied killing King.

At the courthouse today, McInerney’s older brother was found talking to jurors, telling them that his brother’s fate was in their hands. The judge banned him from the courthouse unless called to testify.

Although he was only 14 at the time, McInerney is being tried as an adult. He faces hate crime penalty enhancements that could result in a sentence of 53 years to life in prison if convicted.

—  David Taffet

Judge won’t be recused from Lawrence King murder trial

Associated Press

VENTURA, Calif. — A judge has denied a defense motion to disqualify a Ventura County judge from the trial of a middle school student accused of murdering a gay classmate.

Prosecutor Maeve Fox said Monday, Aug. 2 that San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Burke ruled against the recusal motion filed by lawyers for 16-year-old Brandon McInerney.

McInerney is charged with murdering 15-year-old Larry King in February 2008.

Defense attorney, Scott Wippert, argued that Ventura County Superior Court Judge Charles Campbell wasn’t fair with his rulings that favored the prosecution.

Campbell filed his own declaration to deny that he’s prejudiced against the defendant.

Jury selection was scheduled to begin Wednesday, but Fox said she has a scheduling conflict.

—  John Wright