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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Teenage Gunman in Ohio Mocks Victims’ Families

The families of Ohio high school students who were shot last year speaking at the sentencing of the 18-year-old gunman. Via The News-Herald.

Thomas Lane wore a T-shirt with KILLER scrawled in black ink during his sentencing Tuesday in an Ohio courtroom for shooting and killing three students in a high school cafeteria and wounding two others last year.

Mr. Lane, 18, was sentenced to three life sentences without parole. He pleaded guilty last month to opening fire on the morning of Feb. 27, 2012, with a .22-caliber Ruger semiautomatic pistol at Chardon High School while waiting for a bus to attend an alternative high school.

During the proceeding Tuesday, the prosecutor noted that Mr. Lane, known as T. J., continued to show no remorse for the shooting, making obscene gestures and smirking at the families of the victims, as they remembered their lost sons, their brothers and one son paralyzed after he was shot four times.

Daniel Parmertor, 16, Russell King, Jr. 17, and Demetrius Hewlin, 16, died of their wounds. Two other students, including Nick Walczak, who is paralyzed, were wounded.

“My family will move on, not you,” said Holly Walczak, Nick’s mother, as Mr. Lane smiled and smirked.

“We will always remember that somebody tried to kill five people and all they did was want to go to school,” she said.

The Geauga County prosecutor, James Flaiz, recalled for the judge how Mr. Lane had purchased a T-shirt that said KILLER on it before the shooting. Mr. Flaiz also said Mr. Lane took his uncle’s gun to school and took it out, unprovoked, in the cafeteria. Mr. Lane has not revealed a motive for the shootings.

The prosecutor providing details of what unfolded in the cafeteria on the morning of Feb. 27, 2012. Via The News-Herald.

When the judge, David Fuhry, announced that Mr. Lane would be given three life sentences, he responded with a smile.

The judge sentencing T. J. Lane. Via The News-Herald.

Asked by the judge if he had anything to say to the court, Mr. Lane, 18, spewed forth a statement:

“The hand that pulls the trigger that killed your sons now masturbates to the memory,” he said. He cursed and then swiveled his chair toward the victims’ relatives and raised his middle finger.

A juvenile court judge ruled that Lane was mentally competent to stand trial before the case was moved to adult court last year. Mr. Lane admitted to the shooting but told investigators that he did not know why he did it.

After the proceeding, Mr. Lane’s lawyer, Ian Friedman, and Mr. Lane’s sister, Sadie Lane, made a statement to reporters.

“I want to offer my deepest sympathy to all of the families,” Ms. Lane said. “I ask that you also keep my family in your prayers.”

She recalled how she was in the cafeteria when the shooting broke out and hid in a teachers’ lounge not knowing that it was her brother with the gun. “I heard the gunshots and screams,” she said.

Ms.Lane said that she later overhead a police officer say they suspected the gunman was her brother. “I shook and cried,” she said, “and denied that this could be true.”

She said that it might be hard for people to understand that “I love my brother.” She said that in her message, she wanted to ask for “peace, forgiveness and understanding.”

“I hope we can work toward peace and compassion in the future,” she said. “The brother in the courtroom who did this was not the brother, I knew. ”

Mr. Lane’s lawyer and Mr. Lane’s sister, Sadie Lane, speaking to reporters after the sentencing. Via The News-Herald.