Originally posted on Variety:
On Monday night, HBO premiered the Sundance documentary “Valentine Road,” about the brutal murder of 15-year-old Lawrence King from Oxnard, Calif.
King, who came out of the closet at the age of 10, started to show up for the eighth grade at E.O. Green Junior High School in women’s makeup and stilettos, and he embarrassed classmate Brandon McInerney at lunch by asking him to be his valentine. On Feb. 12, 2008, McInerney sneaked a gun to school and shot King in their first-period English computer lab.
After the shooting, the district attorney’s office charged McInerney, who was 14 at the time, as an adult and of a hate crime, which brought a flurry of media attention to this blue-collar town outside Los Angeles. I was among the early journalists on the scene, and I spent five months there reporting an investigative cover story for Newsweek that explored the complicated events leading to King’s murder.