The 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.