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Courts and Crime

Judge will decide on admissibility of taped family conversations for Chardon shooting trial
Defense says T.J. Lane's family didn't know police were taping them

Kevin Niedermier
Accused Chardon school shooter T.J. Lane. His family says police taped their conversations without their knowledge and they should not be used in court.
Courtesy of WEWS NewsChannel 5
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In The Region:
A Geauga County judge is deciding if taped conversations of family members of the teen accused of shooting six students at Chardon High School last February are admissible in his upcoming trial. In a hearing today the defense argued that family members of T. J. Lane gathered at the Chardon police station did not know they were being taped.  Prosecutors say they should have known better.                                            
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The day of the February 27th shootings, T.J. Lane’s parents and grandparents were called to the police station to pick-up his sister who had been at school. They were escorted to an interrogation room to keep them apart from residents who were angry over the shootings. Defense attorney Mark DeVan says the family was unaware their private conversations in the room where they were all gathered were being recorded. Prosecutors say the family should have realized they were under surveillance because they were in a secure area of the police station, and the room was marked “Interview Room 1.” At the court hearing, each family stated that they were unaware of being taped. During cross examination, the prosecution’s only witness, Chardon Police Lt. Troy Dunkin, was asked by DeVan if family members would have known the device in the room was a camera.

“If I had to describe it I’d say it looks more like a fire alarm than a camera, so most people would not know it is a video camera.”

Geauga County Judge David Fuhry says he will decide within a week if the tapings can be used when the trial begins January 14th.  Lane has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the shooting rampage that killed 3 students and wounded 3 others.                                                                
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