‘Fuck all of you!” were the elegant final words T J Lane stated in a bland voice, at the courtroom in Chardon, Ohio, where he was sentenced for the shooting rampage at Chardon High School that took the lives of three teenagers, Danny Parmertor, Demetrius Hewlin, and Russell King Jr. The 18-year-old killer, who was 17 at the time of the murders, smirked and revelled in the attention from people who attended his trial, and survivors of his victims. At the sentencing the shooting victims’ families were given the opportunity to address Lane, who smirked and unbuttoned his blue shirt to reveal a white t-shirt with the word “killer” written across it in capital letters. Well, at least he showed a little remorse for his actions.
He rocked back and forth in his chair as victims’ relatives took the podium and called him “repulsive,” wished him an “extremely slow, torturous death,” and said he should be locked away “like an animal.” Frankly I disagree with the latter. That’s an insult to animals. “You don’t deserve to be called human,” the grieving mother told Lane. “You are a monster. You are a weak, pathetic, vile coward.”
Lane was 17 when he brought his uncle’s .22-caliber pistol and a knife to the Ohio school on Feb. 27, 2012. He fired the gun 10 times inside the Chardon High School cafeteria. Lane also injured Nicholas Walczak, who is paralyzed from the waist down and remains in a wheelchair; Nate Mueller, who was grazed on the ear; and Joy Rickers, who was treated and released after the shooting. Lane was not a student at Chardon High School, but was in the area waiting for a bus to Lake Adacemy in Willoughby, the alternative high school he attended. Well, he was certainly an alternative kind of kid.
When he was given the opportunity to address the court, Lane dismissed his lawyer’s advice and made a brief, repulsive statement. “This hand that pulled the trigger that killed your sons now masturbates to the memory. F— all of you,” Lane said,before giving the victims’ families the middle finger. Gasps were heard in the court and some onlookers in the gallery began to cry. Somebody should have passed the creep a box of tissue. Can you imagine wearing his handcuffs?”
Frankly, I wasn’t prepared for this,” prosecutor James Flaiz said after Lane’s vulgar gesture. “This is confirming what we have known all along, that this was a cold, calculated, premeditated killing. What we’re dealing with is a disgusting human being. He still refuses to offer any explanation for why he did this. The only explanation I can offer the court is he is an evil person.”
Judge David Fuhry handed the psychopath three consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole, as Lane smiled and nodded. The case was initially heard in juvenile court, where evidence showed Lane suffered from hallucinations, psychosis and fantasies, according to the Associated Press. A psychiatrist testified none of Lane’s symptoms detailed would prevent him from understanding the case against him and helping in his defense. The psychiatrist said he saw no evidence that Lane was faking mental illness. I complete agree. If anyone was ever ruled nuts, it has to be this kid. But the juvenile court judge ruled Lane was mentally competent to stand trial in adult court. On Feb. 27, his lawyers dropped their insanity defense and Lane plead guilty to three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of attempted aggravated murder and one count of felonious assault. Because Lane was 17 at the time of the shooting, he was ineligible to receive the death penalty. Investigators on the case said Lane admitted to the shooting, but did not know why he did it. Strange that his lawyers dropped his insanity plea. Doubtless, he would have been found guilty anyway. Might as well see this thing through to the end, quite like Lane’s victims.
His sister, Sadie, was a student at Chardon High School and in the cafeteria on the day of the shooting. She briefly spoke to reporters after Lane’s sentencing and said the person in the courtroom was not the brother she remembers. “It may be hard for some to understand, but I love my brother and hope that whatever the sentencing in life takes him in the future, that he can touch others’ lives (he has) in a positive way from the point of view that only he can give,” she said. A positive point of view that only he can give? Don’t put a gun in her hand, either. Apparently insanity runs in the family. After the sentencing, Flaiz told reporters Lane had text messaged his sister six days before he went on his rampage and mentioned a school shooting. “The way the text message was phrased to his sister, I’m not sure she would have taken it as anything,” Flaiz said, though he did not state what was in the message. “I think only when you look at it in retrospect does it really have the impact that it does now.”
Geauga County Sheriff’s Deputy Jon Bilicic, who arrested Lane on Feb. 27, 2012, said the teen revealed he was aiming for the students’ heads so they would not suffer. On that day, Lane was also wearing a shirt with the word “killer” scrawled across it. The teen told Bilicic he was not suicidal nor depressed, but that “I don’t understand myself.”
“We may never know the reason for his rampage,” Fuhry said in court. “The victims of the rampage no way provoked or incited or deserved what they received.”
Doesn’t it make you feel all warm inside knowing that Lane’s smirking and posturing will disappear as soon as penitentiary iron doors bang shut behind this little prick? What’s the welcome call prisoners get when they’re walked into prison for the first time? “Fresh meat? Give him to me!“ or some such lovely thing. I’d place my bet that Lane’s smirk won’t last more than an hour, if that. Jail won’t bring back the fine, young people who lost their lives during this rampage, but it will certainly provide Lane with daily reminders as to why he is there. Truly this is a mentally pathological teen, with more problems than a courtroom can ever explain. However, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: gun control has got to be revisited in America. Access to guns alone doesn’t explain Lane’s horrific actions, but minimal access to guns would prevent many of these types of tragedies. Then we wouldn’t have to ask why, or to know the reason for, rampages that cannot happen.