T.J. Lane, 17, speaks to lawyer Robert Farinacci in Geauga County Juvenile Court. The youth has been charged in the deaths of Chardon High students Demetrius Hewlin, Russell King, Jr., and Daniel Parmertor, and the shootings of three other students.
(Willoughby, OHio) news-herald Enlarge
CHARDON, Ohio -- A 17-year-old charged in an Ohio school shooting rampage that left three students dead appeared Tuesday in court, where a judge explained to him the case could be sent to adult court for trial.
Authorities will decide later whether T.J. Lane will be tried as an adult and face a possible life sentence.
Young Lane is charged with three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of attempted aggravated murder, and one count of felonious assault.
The Lane youth did not enter a plea.
He appeared before Juvenile Judge Tim Grendell, who told him his case could be moved to adult court for trial.
Judge Grendell postponed a hearing on that matter from March 19 until April 3 because two more attorneys have joined the defense team.
The Lane youth watched the judge without emotion, blinking occasionally.
He was brought into court under heavy security, a deputy's hand on his arm.
Victims' relatives faced the Lane youth from the jury box. Some wore red-and-black memorial ribbons, Chardon High School's colors.
The Lane youth spoke in response to routine questions from the judge about his understanding of the case and his rights. "Yes sir, I understand," he said repeatedly, and, "Yes, I do, your honor."
Prosecutor David Joyce says the Lane youth has admitted taking a 22-caliber pistol and a knife to Chardon High School, near Cleveland, on Feb. 27 and firing 10 shots at a group of students sitting at a cafeteria table.
In addition to the three students killed, three were wounded, two seriously.
The motive for the shooting remains unclear, though Mr. Joyce has appeared to rule out theories involving bullying or drug-dealing.
He has said victims were selected at random and that the Lane youth is someone "who's not well."
Mr. Joyce expects the case to be moved to adult court, where young Lane could face life in prison. Minors are not eligible for the death penalty in Ohio, whether they are convicted as juveniles or adults.
The Lane youth attends an alternative school for students who haven't done well in traditional schools.
The funerals for the three students began Saturday and continued Tuesday. The final one is scheduled for Thursday.