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Psychologist: McInerney Had Well of Rage

Psychologist: McInerney Had Well of Rage


As the defense of Brandon McInerney, the California teen on trial for killing gay classmate Lawrence King, drew to a close Friday, a psychologist testified that a history of abuse caused McInerney to shut off his emotions and let anger build up within him.

McInerney had "a very abusive and neglectful childhood that was permeated with violence," said Donald Hoagland, a clinical and forensic psychologist who evaluated the defendant, according to the Ventura County Star. "You can't go through life feeling like hell every moment, so you learn to shut off your feelings."

McInerney, now 17, was verbally and physically abused by his father since he was only 7 or 8, Hoagland said in the Chatsworth, Calif., courtroom. Hoagland said the youth's depression and desperation were increasing at the time he fatally shot King, 15, in 2008 in front of other students at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard.

King had often come to school in feminine clothing and makeup and had flirted with McInerney. Hoagland was just beginning to discuss McInerney's reaction to King when the court recessed for lunch.

Testimony in McInerney's defense, which was expected to wrap up Friday afternoon, has focused on his motives since there is no question that he pulled the trigger. McInerney, who was 14 at the time of the shooting, is charged as an adult with murder and a hate crime, and could face life in prison if convicted. The defense has argued that voluntary manslaughter would be a more appropriate charge.

Closing arguments by the defense and prosecution are expected next week.

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