Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Drama In Trial of Accused Killer of Larry King

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | July 30, 2011 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: Brandon McInerney, Dawn Boldrin, Dawn King, Greg King, Larry King, murder

Larry KingThe family of teen homicide victim Larry King stormed from the courtroom on Thursday, angry over the testimony of Dawn Boldrin, King's former English teacher, now a barista at Starbucks, who has admitted to a "breakdown" and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after the event.

Boldrin broke down in tears as she described how she had given a strapless formal gown to King, 15, who identified himself as gay and had been showing up at his Oxnard school in women's spike-heeled boots and makeup. The dress was a green, spaghetti-strap homecoming dress wrapped in a leopard-print gift bag with fuzzy handles. She testified that she gave it to him privately when no other students were around, although he did try it on in a school bathroom, she said.

The defense displayed a large photograph of King, taken by Boldrin, holding up the lime-green chiffon gown and smiling broadly. The defendant's mother, Kendra McInerney, Boldrin's 13-year-old daughter, sitting in the courtroom, Robyn Bramson, a defense attorney, and McInerney's mother began sobbing.

Boldrin, wearing a purple dress to court with a tattoo visible on her bicep, had previously counseled King not to wear too much makeup, and to tread lightly with his classmates. "Your classmates are young and this is hard on them and you maybe need to not be so pushy with it."

Greg King, Larry King's father, stomped out of the courtroom, returning a short while later to lead the entire King family to leave the courthouse for the day. As they did so, Larry's mother, Dawn King, whispered an expletive to Boldrin's daughter. She was ejected from the courtroom for the rest of the trial as a result.

Larry King was estranged from his family, and was living in a home for abused and neglected children at the time of the killing. There was also conflicting testimony about whether the school teachers and administrators knew about sexual harassment directed at King, and whether they had taken appropriate steps to stop sexual harassment directed at King. There were suggestions that King had been inappropriately encouraged in his occasional wearing of feminine-appearing makeup and accessories.

Outside the courtroom, Greg King explained that he became angry, as did his wife, because he considered the women's response "crocodile tears."

"My son is dead and they're crying?" King said. "That's the woman who gave him a dress after complaining that he shouldn't be coming to school in makeup and boots!"

There has also been conflicting testimony about whether Larry King was sexually harassing McInerney, with one witness, special education teacher Anne Sinclair describing how King placed his midsection near the face of another student in an unrelated incident. The testimony left unclear the question of whether the placement was an unintentional result of standing near the sitting teacher and student while requesting to use the bathroom. The teacher denied King's request, and King protested, Sinclair called it sexual harassment, although she acknowledged that she had not previously labeled the behavior as such until the trial. There was also testimony about King saying "love you, baby" and blowing kisses to McInerney, as well as his actions on a few occasions of moving to sit at a table with the "cool kids," which then cleared the table of all the boys. It is unclear from the testimony whether King's behaviors were a defense to the harassment that he was receiving, or part of a brazen attempt to woo McInerney.

There was also testimony about some symbols found in McInerney's notebooks that seemed to be white supremacist symbols, and his involvement with "SSL," which some testimony indicated was a white supremacist gang. Other testimony suggested, however, that the few symbols found were ambiguous in nature, and that "SSL" was not a gang, but simply a name for residents of the local area.

Credibility of witnesses and the jury's disposition towards those witnesses' statements are going to be key elements in any verdict in this case. The testimony appears to be wildly conflicting in interpretation, although not in regard to specific facts. The question of intent -- harasser or victim, an administration hostile or bungling -- on the part of the defendant, the victim, and the school administration, is the major factor in this trial.


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The entire 'King as sexual harasser' meme is so thin as to be non-existent. Sitting at a lunch table is not sexually harassing. Dressing in a way which makes straight teen boys uptight and being in their vicinity is not sexual harassment. Sarcastically saying "I love you too" when someone gives you stink eye is not sexual harassment. This entire concept was invented by a self-loathing gay man who writes for a national publication. Yet it gets repeated time and again on so many articles about this murder as though it were fact.

Whay gay man are you talking about? I was just reporting on the testimony as given in the newspapers.

That would be former Newsweek writer Ramin Setoodeh, whose piece about this case (and the entire 'sexual harassment' angle has been repeated ad nauseum as fact by endless writers and whose skewed perspective about the case was pretty much taken up by the defense team.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2008/07/18/young-gay-and-murdered.html

Wow, thanks for bringimg this to our attention, Gina. One thing that have learned from ,y years of practicing law is that everyone in a courtroom lies, or at least shades the truth very strongly, including the judge. The witnesses are all hiding things and making more of certain things than is warranted by the facts. We'll never know which of these versions of the King story is more truthful. My own take on it is that, if this were an opposite sex situation, everyone would be seeing this with a very different set of assumptions. In the final analysis, regardless of whether Brandon was the special subject of Larry's unwanted attentions or not, Larry didn't deserve to die, and Brandon murdered him. I reject Setoodeh's implication that Larry was responsible for his own death, and the school was negligent for not stopping him.

Rachel Bellum | July 30, 2011 1:47 PM

"My son is dead and they're crying?" King said. "That's the woman who gave him a dress after complaining that he shouldn't be coming to school in makeup and boots!"

I have trouble wrapping my head around all the things I've heard about this tragedy.

california panda | July 30, 2011 8:21 PM

Here's what I see as the real deal. McInerney brought a gun to school with the intent to use it -- either to scare King or kill him. There was premeditation in that act. The gun was loaded. Had the gun been empty then a scare might be a reasonable assumption but it isn't given the weapon have live rounds in it. McInerney shot King in the back of the head while King was sitting in class. King was no immediate threat and had his back turned. It was for all intents and purposes an assassination. There's motive, McInerney hated what King represented. Means, he had the weapon and the venue. And opportunity - King's back was turned. And the fact that he performed this assassination in a public school classroom while class was in session is just one more nail in McInerney's coffin. McInerney is both a coward and a murderer. Anything else is just an attempt to obscure the truth.

The killer shot twice. Just to make sure.

You assume, Panda, that there is such a thing as truth, and that, perhaps is where you and I differ.

This such a sad story. I am furious that the defense is attempting to use the "Gay Panic Defense" as a reason why this little "Nazi" brutally murdered this poor baby! I hope the jurors see through it and give this little homophobe life in prison!

darksidecat | July 31, 2011 12:20 PM

If ze* had been a hetero cis girl, we wouldn't even be hearing this debate. The whole victim blaming nonsense is about Larry's gender and sexuality as an excuse for murder and that is disgusting.

*I am using gender neutral pronouns because it is somewhat uncertain how Larry IDed and some things indicate ze might have considered hirself a girl.

I spent a long day working with one of Larry's counselors from his group home. She's been furious at Setoodeh's report in Newsweek and in the LA Times since this happened. She told me that Larry was much smaller than BM and was afraid of him. BM did deliberately and for weeks, bully and intimidate LK because of LK's mannerisms. To call anything LK did 'harassment' is to assume that LK had the power or inclination for ongoing challenging or threatening behavior. LK wore a uniform to school, so he didn't have the ability to wear a girl's outfit to school. He was given a dress for use outside of school.
LK was, she said, a VERY charming and entertaining kid with a beautiful voice. He wore about as much makeup as one would see on Prince or Adam Lambert.
She told me LK was very cute and liked by most kids because he WASN'T a scrapper or someone out to intimidate anyone, but he didn't mind being the center of attention either.
Kids with performing arts talent or aspirations are like that. All very normal really.
It was BM who did all the harassment, bullying and intimidation. And he told other kids that he wanted to kill LK and he did. In as brutal, cowardly and cold blooded a manner as possible.

As I shouldn't have to say, a gay or trans kid will offend someone by entering a room. There doesn't need to be contact or even acquaintance to be threatened, assaulted or murdered by someone who is a committed homophobe.
It's the teaching that any member of the LGBT is worthless, threatening or predatory is why the gay panic defense has worked in favor of the perpetrator.
Who usually would get off, or got little time considering the 1st degree nature and brutality of their crimes. In any OTHER similar case, they'd go away for life.
There shouldn't even be a question here of who was more threatened and who carried out their threat in the end.

Wolfgang E. B. Wolfgang E. B. | July 31, 2011 3:47 PM

Thank you.

That the defense is even allowed to suggest that Larry was in any way responsible for his own murder sickens and deeply offends me. And because the defense is using that disgusting tactic, my hatred toward Brandon is so intense that I'd like to see him get the death penalty, even though I'm normally against capital punishment.

Amazing discussion. You all have raised such great points that deserve further attention. I'm writing a longer piece on this for tomorrow.