There wasn't much argument today in Geauga County Juvenile Court on whether T.J. Lane would be tried as an adult for the shootings at Chardon High School which left three dead and two injured.
The only question was how long the hearings before Judge Timothy Grendell would take, as prosecutors moved to have the 17-year old student face murder charges as an adult. Grendell had earlier ruled Lane was competent to stand trial. A psychiatrist has testified Lane suffers from hallucinations, psychosis and fantasies.
Even with the trial as an adult, Lane cannot face the death penalty since he was a minor at the time of the crime. Unlike the day of the shooting when he wore a black tee-shirt with the word "Killer" on it, Lane appeared in court today wearing a light blue button-down shirt. He remains in custody without bond.
Lane was bound over to Geauga County Common Pleas Court on three charges of aggravated murder and two counts of attempted aggravated murder. Lane's lawyer told the court his client admitted to the shootings, but didn't have a reason why he walked into school the morning of February 27th and opened fire on fellow students in the cafeteria of Chardon High School.
During the hearing this morning, reporters first learned there were dozens of cameras in operation at the school and the shooting itself was caught on video that prosecutors deemed "disturbing" and "graphic" and potentially prejudicial, according to WEWS NewsChannel 5. Media covering today's hearing were not permitted to view the footage.
The Akron Public Schools have reached out to the community of Chardon in the wake of the school shootings that took place Monday.
Akron Schools Superintendent David James says the district offers their deepest sympathies and that they are offering the Chardon district assistance through counseling crisis teams to help students and teachers through this difficult time.
James commended the Chardon School District for reacting quickly and having crisis planning and disaster drills in place to prevent the tragedy from further escalating.
He went on to say the APS is also prepared for acts of violence and have a proactive approach when it comes to bullying and other problems.
Here is James' letter below:
Dear parents, students and community members,
We at Akron Public Schools offer our deepest sympathies to the Chardon school community.
As many of you have already heard, three students were killed and two more were wounded after a fellow student brought a gun to Chardon High School Monday.
Previous crisis planning and disaster drills prepared the Chardon district to react quickly, and likely prevented further loss of life.
APS also conducts lockdown drills at its buildings with the goal of eliminating or reducing injuries from tragedies such as these. We also emphasize bully prevention efforts and count on our school resource officers to watch for potential trouble.
We all hope that such acts of violence never occur, let alone in our schools, but we try to be as prepared as possible just in case.
Please encourage your students or children to come forward to tell a staff member if they're experiencing bullying or hearing threats, so we can act on the problem.
If a student is not comfortable sharing with a teacher or principal, please encourage them to approach any safe adult at home or school.
We encourage our staff to follow up on all concerns that are shared with us.
APS has offered the Chardon district assistance in the form of counseling crisis teams.
We'd also like our students and families to know that counselors are available if they'd like to talk to someone about this tragedy. Please call Dr. Perry Clark at 330-761-3151.
Anyone having trouble with bullying at an APS school should contact Merle Bennett Buzzelli, program manager at the Office of School Climate at 330-761-2913.
Our thoughts and deepest condolences go out to the victims and their families and the whole Chardon community.
David W. James
UPDATE -- The Geauga County prosecutor says the 17-year-old suspect in the Chardon school shootings didn't know his victims.
Prosecutor David Joyce told reporters after Tuesday afternoon's hearing in Geauga County Juvenile Court in Chardon, " He chose his victims at random. This is not about bullying. This is not about drugs. This is someone who's not well, and I'm sure in our court case we'll prove that prove that, and we'll make sure that justice is done here in this county."
Joyce said Chardon law enforcement and school officials did what they were supposed to do. " They need to get back to school and realize that justice is going to be done."
The prosecutor said that suspect T.J. Lane has been ordered held for at least the next 15 days and that he would probably face at least three counts of aggravated murder.
Three fellow students were killed in the shootings in the Chardon High School cafeteria.
The latest student to die is Demetrius Hewlin. He was pronounced dead by the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Tuesday afternoon.
One student, a girl who was earlier listed in stable condition at Hillcrest Hospital, was released from the hospital Tuesday afternoon. A 16-year old boy remains at Hillcrest in serious condition.
Geauga County Judge Tim Grendell ordered Lane to be held in custody even as prosecutors haven't filed formal charges against him.
He says Lane will remain in detention due to the serious nature of the charges against him and for the safety of others as well as himself.
"Detention is necessary to protect the juvenile from any kind of potential threat or harm," he explains.
Grendell imposed a media gag order on both prosecution and defense lawyers and hearing is scheduled for March 6 for a juvenile court version of an arraignment.
Chardon and Geauga County officials held a news conference late this morning to update the community and media on what is happening in the aftermath of Monday's shootings at the Chardon High School cafeteria that left three students dead and two others hospitalized.
Geauga County Sheriff Tim McClelland says the community now needs time to recover. "While the investigation continues and we still look for the why and what, and who, we now deal with a community looking to heal."
McClelland says the Chardon community is getting a lot of support. "Chardon, Geauga County, northeast Ohio is rallying like nothing we've ever seen before. The outpouring of concern, hope, encouragement has been unbelievable ," says McClelland.
Chardon Police Chief Tim McKenna confirmed the death of a second student. McKenna says he was informed by the Cuyahoga County Coroner at 4:30 this morning of the death of 17-year old Russell King Jr.
Shooting suspect 17-year old T.J.Lane will appear in Geauga County Juvenile Court this afternoon and police and sheriff's officials plan to discuss the charges against him at another news conference late this afternoon (4:30pm).
A community candlelight vigil will be held at 7 tonight.
A second student has died following the shootings at Chardon High School Monday.
WKYC-TV reports 17-year old Russell King Jr. passed away at Metrohealth Medical Center.
The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office released information about his death Tuesday morning.
Three students were taken to MetroHealth Medical Center, including 16-year old Daniel Parmertor, who died Monday before 12 p.m.
One victim is listed in critical condition at MetroHealth Medical Center. Two other students were taken to Hillcrest Hospital. That's where a 17 year-old boy is listed in serious condition and a 18-year old girl is listed in stable condition at this time.
Shooting suspect T.J. Lane was taken into custody Monday morning and is spending this morning in solitary confinement. His first court appearance is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Classes in the Chardon School District have been canceled for Monday.
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