Brandon McInerney

Brandon McInerney, now 17, has been sentenced to 21 years in a California state prison for the February 2008 murder of Larry King, a gay teen who went to school with McInerney at E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard, Calif.

McInerney last month struck a deal with Ventura County prosecutors in which he agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder and charge each of voluntary manslaughter and use of a firearm. The deal came after a mistrial in September in which jurors could not agree on degree of guilt. Prosecutors wanted him convicted on first-degree murder charges and a hate crime charge. Jurors in September rejected the hate crime charge.

McInerney was tried as an adult.

According to this report from, McInerney should be released from prison just before his 39th birthday. said McInerney is ineligible for time served or for time off for good behavior because he pleaded guilty to murder.

McInerney was 14 and Larry King was 15 on Valentine’s Day in 2008 when McInerney walked up behind King in a computer lab class and shot him in the back of the head as horrified classmates looked on. King, who had recently begun wearing make-up and women’s clothing and accessories to school, had reportedly angered McInerney by flirting with him, leading McInerney’s friends to tease him.

King’s adoptive father, Greg King, later criticized school officials for not reining in Larry King’s openly gay behavior and his flamboyant manner of dress. Greg King has also said he believes Larry was sexually harassing McInerney, and that Larry — who Greg King says was bisexual — has been unfairly turned into a “poster child” for LGBT rights.

Larry King, adopted by Greg and Dawn King at age 3, was not living with them at the time of his death, having been removed from the home by state officials the previous November after saying that Greg King was abusive to him. Greg and Dawn King have also said publicly that their adopted son “never bonded with” them. A year after Larry was murdered, Greg and Dawn King filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the teachers and principal and E.O. Green High School, the nonprofit Casa Pacifica where Larry had been living, counselors, a county social worker and the Ventura County Rainbow Alliance, as well as McInerney and his parents.

Speaking during the sentencing hearing on Monday, Greg King said Larry’s family could not forgive McInerney. “You took upon yourself to be a bully and to hate a smaller kid, wanting to be a big man on campus,” Greg King told McInerney. “You have left a hole in my heart where Larry was and it can never be filled.”