The case of a US student who shot dead a gay classmate has heard from the victim’s teachers.
Larry King, 15, who self-identified as gay and wore feminine clothing, was shot in the head on February 12th 2008 during a lesson, allegedly by Brendan McInerney, his classmate at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, California.
This week, the trial, in Chatsworth, California, heard that teachers at the school had become increasingly concerned about the victim’s appearance and demeanour in the weeks up to his death.
King was described in court as a sweet boy who was liked by his teachers but failed to connect with his peers, the Ventura County Star reports.
The student would sometimes wear dramatic makeup, dresses and high heels and his teachers suggested that there was concern about the impact on other students.
Susan Crowley, King’s special education teacher, said: “I was concerned [that his clothes] were designed to draw negative attention to himself and would make him unhappy and victimised. He couldn’t distinguish between positive and negative attention. He just wanted people to pay attention to him.”
Debi Goldstein, a maths teacher, told the court: “The teachers were upset because [King's appearance] was disruptive to the environment and upsetting the students.”
She claimed that former assistant principal Joy Epstein – who is a lesbian – had not addressed the problems.
Another teacher, Shirley Brown, said she thought King would be killed if he continued to wear the clothing.
She said: “My comment [to the head principal] was that if something wasn’t done soon, Larry would be taken behind the back shed of the PE area and be beaten to death.”
McInerney was 14 at the time of the shooting but is being prosecuted as an adult and could be sentenced to 50 years in jail.
He does not deny the killing but his lawyers argue he is guilty of voluntary manslaughter because he was humiliated by King’s sexual advances.