School killing leads to hate crime charge
Feb 15,2008 00:00 by UPI

OXNARD, Calif. - A 14-year-old Southern California boy could face an adult trial for a hate crime for the fatal shooting of another teen in a school classroom.

The victim, Lawrence King, 15, was to be removed from a ventilator Thursday after being declared brain dead, the Los Angeles Times reported. He was shot in the head early Tuesday at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard.

Students suggested King's presumed sexual orientation was the reason for the shooting.

"He would come to school in high-heeled boots, makeup, jewelry and painted nails -- the whole thing," said Michael Sweeney, also an eighth-grader. "That was freaking the guys out."

The 14-year-old reportedly pulled out a gun and fired at King just before their first-period English class and then ran away. Police arrested him a few blocks away from the school. The defendant was charged with premeditated murder with a special allegation of using a firearm in the commission of a hate crime, the newspaper said.

Deputy District Attorney Maeve Fox said prosecutors would seek an adult trial once King is removed from the ventilator.

© 2008 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.