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Courts and Crime

Chardon shooter T.J. Lane's appeal is set for tomorrow
Defense lawyers will raise questions of life sentences and the development of the teen-age brain

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
T.J. Lane was 17 when he killed three classmates and 18 when he was sentenced to prison for the rest of his life.
Courtesy of FILE PHOTO
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Appeals court judges will hear arguments tomorrow on the sentencing of T.J. Lane to life in prison with no chance of parole.

WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports that a recent Ohio Supreme Court decision is likely to play into the debate over whether the now-19-year-old Chardon High School shooter should spend the rest of his life in prison.

LISTEN: T.J. Lane's appeal

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T.J. Lane was 17 when he opened fire in the high school cafeteria two years ago. He pleaded guilty to killing 16-year-old Daniel Parmertor, 16-year-old Demetrius Hewlin and 17-year-old Russell King Jr., and to wounding three others. He was sentenced to three life terms in prison.

Such sentences have increasingly been open to challenge. Both the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and American Psychiatric Association oppose them, pointing to research about the development of adolescent brains and the greater chance that they will change over time.

And in a separate case, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that judges must specifically consider a teen’s age when they’re considering life in prison.

The appeals arguments will take place in the Geauga County courtroom where Lane was sentenced a year ago. Then, he mocked the victim’s families and revealed a T-shirt with the word “Killer” scrawled on it.

The families of the victims have sued the Chardon school district and the alternative school Lane attended, saying they’d been warned of the need for more security.  

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