Detective testifies in gay student murder trial

AP News
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Posted: Aug 11, 2011 12:55 AM
Detective testifies in gay student murder trial

A police detective stood by his testimony that a California teenager charged in the shooting death of his gay classmate was influenced by a local street gang and white supremacy beliefs.

Simi Valley Detective Dan Swanson defended his expertise on white supremacy and hate crime when he testified for the prosecution in the trial of Brandon McInerney, 17, who is charged with first-degree murder and hate crime in the killing of 15-year-old Larry King, the Ventura County Star reported Wednesday (http://bit.ly/qMXFzD).

Prosecutors allege McInerney was driven by white supremacist, anti-gay beliefs when he shot King in the head in an Oxnard junior high classroom in 2008.

Defense attorney Scott Wippert questioned why Swanson thinks McInerney was a member of a street gang when the young man wasn't charged with a gang crime.

Swanson said he evaluated every influence in McInerney's life and found that the Silver Strand Locals, which the detective considered to be a gang, and white supremacists were his primary influences.

"Since both of those groups have a history of committing acts of violence, that is the influence I testified that I believe spoke to Brandon," Swanson said.

Wippert questioned Swanson's expertise on white supremacy by noting that he has testified on the subject in only two other cases.

Swanson said he has been studying the topic for more than a decade.

McInerney, who was 14 at the time of the shooting, is being tried as an adult.