The teacher of a murdered Californian gay student says she understands the motives of the killer and has laughed saying she would have given the victim a “good swift kick in the butt”.

Shirley Brown made the comments last night in HBO documentary Valentine Road, which explores the case of Brandon McInerney.

McInerney pleaded guilty in November 2011 to second-degree murder for shooting Larry King, 15, during a lesson at school.

He is serving a 21-year sentence in prison for the murder.

The defence said unwanted sexual advances by King drove McInerney over the edge; prosecutors said it was a hate crime, but jurors rejected this.

McInerney was 14 at the time of the shooting in February 2008.

Newsweek described it as “the most prominent gay-bias crime since the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard”.

“I do believe in a heaven and a hell, and I do believe Larry honestly did not have a clue, honestly, the consequences of his actions,’ said Shirley Brown, King’s former teacher at Green Junior High School in Oxnard, California.

“I relate to Brandon because I could see my own self being in that very same position.

“I don’t know if I would have taken a gun, but a good swift kick in the butt might work really well,’ she added, laughing.

There were also interviews in the documentary with some of the jurors involved in the case who spoke in support of McInerney.

Juror Diane Michaels, a nurse, said it was a breach of civil rights because McInerney was being “taunted”.

“Where are the civil rights of the one being taunted by another person that is cross-dressing?” she said.

Michaels said if King had followed the “example” lead by a lesbian student, who stopped holding the hands of her girlfriend at school, he would not have been killed.

King had been bullied at school for turning up to class in female clothing and makeup. King’s family actually tried to sue the school alleging that allowing King to wear makeup and feminine clothing was a factor leading to his death.

However, California Attorney General’s Office dismissed the allegation, stating that the school could not legally have stopped King from wearing girls’ clothes because state law prevents gender discrimination.