The escape of Chardon shooter T.J. Lane from a Lima prison night raised serious questions about the security of Ohio's prisons and how such a high-profile inmate could slip past the guards and into the night.
Plain Dealer reporter Rachel Dissell covered the Chardon High School shootings when they happened and covered the escape last night. She described the issues facing the prison where Lane was housed and why the attorney who defended him at his murder trial believes he shouldn't face criminal charges for the escape.
UPDATE 5:30 p.m. Judge Fuhry responds to criticism for allowing Lane to wear the t-shirt in court. His office released the following statement:
(WKYC) The court was unaware of the shirt. The court did not notice the shirt. Had the court noticed the shirt, the court would have immediately stopped the proceedings, adjourned the court and the court would have ordered the defendant to put on proper attire.
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Chardon High School shooter T.J. Lane has been sentenced to life in prison for the school shooting that left three fellow students dead and three others seriously wounded last year, including a young man paralyzed and in a wheelchair.
Just over one year ago, Lane walked into the Chardon High School cafeteria and fired 10 shots from a handgun. Killed were Demetrius Hewlin, Daniel Parmertor and Russel; King, Jr. Wounded in the attack were Nate Mueller, Joy Rickers and Nick Walczak. Walczak's injuries left him unable to walk.
Geauga County Judge David Fuhry sentenced 18-year-old T.J. Lane to three consecutive terms of life in prison, without the possibility of parole, noting Lane never showed any remorse for his actions. The judge said it was difficult to come up with any sentencing that matched Lane's crime.
Multiple media outlets reported that Lane gave the middle finger to the courtroom during the sentencing. In a profane but short response to victim family impact testimony that, at times, called him "evil" and "an animal," Lane responded by saying the same hand used to pull the trigger he also used to pleasure himself, and for the court to "F-all" themselves.
The unedited video, below from NewsChannel 5, is offensive.
He removed a dress shirt he wore into the courtroom, revealing the white T-shirt with the words "killer" handwritten on the front. Lane continued to smile, laugh and smirk while families of the victims read their impact statements in court. He was not handcuffed for the sentencing but was surrounded by deputies in the courtroom. He was led from the room immediately after the sentence was delivered; deputies did not allow him to put his dress shirt on as he left.
On February 26, one day before the one-year anniversary of the school shooting, Lane pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of attempted aggravated murder and one count of felonious assault.
Three students were killed and three were seriously wounded in the Chardon school shooting.
Wednesday was a day of reflection for the community of Chardon and the students of Chardon High School as they remember the tragic school shootings that left three students dead and three others wounded one year ago today.
NewsChannel 5 cameras were present as thousands walked to the Chardon square arm-in-arm dressed in red and black from the high school where a ceremony was held.
One of the parents said the community and school will move forward, despite not getting complete closure.
"I think Danny Parmentor's dad said it really well that there really isn't closure, you just keep moving forward," she said.
"That's the way I think we're going to be, I don't think you have closure I think you learn to live with the hold in your heart."
The gunman, T.J. Lane pleaded guilty Tuesday to the three murders of Daniel Parmertor, Russell King, Jr. and Demetrius Hewlin in addition to two counts of attempted aggravated murder and one count of felonious assault. He could face life in prison.
Another parent, Catie Thompson said the students did as well as expected, given that this was the first year since the shooting occurred.
"It's been difficult to see our kids go through what they've gone through, but I think today is a lot better than what we hoped for," Thompson explained.
"I think every first has been hard, so I think tomorrow will be a little bit better since it's the day after."
Joe Bergant, Superintendent for Chardon Local Schools says the loss of the three students will be forever engrained in the community's collective mind, but that they will learn to move forward.
"The loss of the three young men, Danny, Demetrius, and Russell will impact us all forever," he said. "We will heal."
The students walked in silence towards the town square, and one of the students told the TV station that their classmates were right there along with them in spirit as they made the trek.
On the Web: www.newsnet5.com
On the one-year anniversary of their child's death, the parents of three students fatally shot at Chardon High School filed suit today against the gunman, T.J. Lane, and his family.
WKYC Channel 3 News reports In a wrongful death lawsuit filed in Lake County Common Pleas Court, the parents accused Lane's parents, maternal grandparents and an uncle of negligently failing to supervise and control Lane, which "facilitated, encouraged or allowed" the shooting to occur.
They "knew or should have known that their negligent actions and omissions would result in severe physical and emotional injuries" to Daniel Parmertor, Russell King, Jr. and Demetrius Hewlin, the lawsuit alleged.
Last December, T.J. Lane's family testified in a pretrial hearing that they couldn't believe he would have done such a thing.
T.J. Lane pleaded guilty yesterday to the three murders as well as two counts of attempted aggravated murder and one count of felonious assault as part of a plea deal that may result in him being locked up for the rest of his life.
On the Web: www.wkyc.com
Accused Chardon school gunman TJ Lane has pleaded guilty in connection with the shooting deaths of three students at Chardon High School shooting last year.
NewsChannel 5 was inside the Geauga County Common Pleas courtroom where 18-year-old TJ Lane pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of attempted aggravated murder and one count of felonious assault. The Tuesday morning hearing came one day before the one year anniversary of the shooting.
Lane previously entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. A date for sentencing has been scheduled for March 19, 2013.
Three students were killed and three others were injured in the deadly shooting rampage at Chardon High School on February 27, 2012.
On the web: www.newsnet5.com
Attorneys in both sides of the Chardon High School shooting case want psychiatric testing for the 18-year old accused of killing three students in the school's cafeteria.
NewsChannel 5 reports the request will determine if accused shooter TJ Lane is competent to stand trial.
The request was filed last Friday by Lane's attorneys and was backed by the prosecution.
In 2012, before the case went to adult court, a juvenile court judge ruled Lane was mentally competent despite evidence he suffered from psychosis, hallucinations, and fantasies
No trial date has been set as of yet.
Prosecutors allege Lane, who was 17 at the time of the incident, fired 10 shots at a group of students in the Chardon High School cafeteria in February of last year. Lane was at the school waiting for a bus to take him to his alternative school.
On the Web: www.newsnet5.com
An Ohio judge has outlined arrangements in the Chardon school shooting trial of 18-year old TJ Lane.
News Channel5 reports Judge David Fuhry said jurors must be sequestered during deliberations in the aggravated murder trial that claimed the life of three Chardon High School students and wounded three others.
The judge also said in an order filed one week ago that Lane isn't subject to the death penalty. He was 17 during the time of the shootings.
Jurors will not be questioned in regards to punishment for Lane if he his convicted.
Both the judge and the attorneys in the case are scheduled to meet Jan 30 to discuss a trial date.
Lane is accused of firing 10 shots at a group of students in the Chardon HS cafeteria in February of 2012. He was at the school waiting for a bus to transport him to his alternative school.
On the Web: www.newsnet5.com
The next hearing in the case of accused Chardon High School shooter T.J. Lane has been scheduled for later this month.
Both prosecutors and defense attorneys will be meeting behind closed doors January 30 with Judge David Fuhry to determine a new trial date for Lane, who will not be present at the conference.
Lane is accused in the February 2012 shootings that left three students dead and three more wounded at Chardon High School.
Last week, the judge granted a request from both the prosecution and the defense to continue the trial which had been scheduled to start on Jan.14.
The Chardon teen accused of gunning down five classmates in a Monday morning rampage at Chardon High School appears in Geagua County Juvenile Court today, but according to Summit County Juvenile Court Judge Linda Teodosio, the case against T.J. Lane probably won't stay there very long.
"It would be a case where if the juvenile court finds probable cause that the youth committed the offenses he is charged with they would be required by law to transfer them to the general division for a trial as an adult," said Teodosio.
Teodosio says today's hearing for Lane will likely involve explaining any charges that have been filed, discussion about whether he should be held and making sure he has legal representation.
Lane cannot be sentenced to death because he is under 18 years old, but Teodosio says any other sanctions available for adults could be levied against him if he is found guilty.