Almost three months after a deadly shooting at Chardon High School in northern Ohio, a judge has determined that the alleged shooter, 17-year-old T.J. Lane, will be tried as an adult. The February 27 shooting killed three students and injured two others.
It follows a hearing earlier this month that may have foreshadowed the youth’s defense as an adult, as a psychiatrist testified that Lane suffers from serious mental problems, including auditory hallucinations, depression and involuntary fantasies. The judge said Lane’s mental status didn’t prevent him from understanding the proceedings or hinder his ability help with his defense.
The judge, Juvenile Court Judge Timothy Grendell, followed state law in the case, which states that 16- and 17-year-olds must be tried as adults if “the charge is aggravated murder or murder” – and in Lane’s case, “used a firearm while committing the offense.” If those two things are true, and “there is probable cause to believe that the child committed the offense, the child must stand trial as an adult.”
A police report revealed in this morning’s hearing also showed that Lane “admitted to firing 10 shots from a .22-caliber semiautomatic Ruger handgun” and Deputy Jon Bilcic confirmed the admission, an additional article from The Plain Dealer reports:
He said Lane told him he just “killed a bunch of people.” When Bilicic asked him why, he said, “I don’t know.” At another point when asked why, he said, “I don’t really understand myself.”
Bilicic was testifying this morning in Geauga County Juvenile Court where Judge Timothy Grendell was expected to rule whether to send Lane, 17, to adult court to stand trial.
The deputy said when he asked Lane if had shot girls or guys, the teen responded, “I don’t know.” When asked how many were shot, he said, “I have no idea.”
The deputy said Lane told him he was aiming for heads so people wouldn’t suffer.
The county prosecutor is expected to take the case to a grand jury within a few weeks. If found guilty, Lane could face life in prison.