Justice, Gender, Junior High
“Corbett’s relentlessly open mind is rewarding for the reader. His compassion, in the end, leads him to places he did not expect to go.”—The New York Times Book Review
On Feb. 12, 2008, at E. O. Green Junior High in Oxnard, California, fourteen-year-old Brandon McInerney shot and killed his classmate, Larry King, who had recently begun to call himself “Leticia” and wear makeup and jewelry to school. Profoundly shaken by the news, and unsettled by media coverage that sidestepped the issues of gender identity and of race integral to the case, psychologist Ken Corbett traveled to Los Angeles to attend the trial. As visions of victim and perpetrator were woven and unwoven in the theater of the courtroom, a haunting picture emerged not only of the two young teenagers, but also of spectators altered by an atrocity and of a community that had unwittingly gestated a murder. Drawing on firsthand observations, extensive interviews and research, as well as on his decades of academic work on gender and sexuality, Corbett holds each murky facet of this case up to the light, exploring the fault lines of memory and the lacunae of uncertainty behind facts. Deeply compassionate, and brimming with wit and acute insight, A Murder Over a Girl is a riveting and stranger-than-fiction drama of the human psyche.
Ken Corbett is Clinical Assistant Professor at the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. He maintains a private practice in New York City and consults internationally. His writings and interviews about gender, sexuality, art, and psychotherapy appear in academic journals as well as in magazines, newspapers, websites, and on television.