Tuesday, April 24, 2018
News Roundup

Defiant teen gets life sentences in Ohio shooting

CHARDON, Ohio — Wearing a T-shirt with "killer" scrawled across it, a teenager cursed and gestured obscenely as he was given three life sentences Tuesday for shooting to death three students in an Ohio high school cafeteria.

T.J. Lane, 18, had pleaded guilty last month to shooting at students in February 2012 at Chardon High School, east of Cleveland. Investigators have said he admitted to the shooting but said he didn't know why he did it.

Before the case went to adult court last year, a juvenile court judge ruled that Lane was mentally competent to stand trial despite evidence he suffers from hallucinations, psychosis and fantasies.

Lane was defiant during the sentencing, smiling and smirking throughout, including while four relatives of victims spoke.

After he came in, he calmly unbuttoned his blue dress shirt to reveal the T-shirt reading "killer," which the prosecutor noted was similar to one he wore during the shooting.

At one point, he swiveled around in his chair toward the gallery where his own family members and those of the slain teenagers were sitting and spoke suddenly, surprising even his lawyer.

"The hand that pulled the trigger that killed your sons now masturbates to the memory," he said, then cursed at and raised his middle finger toward the victims' relatives.

A student who was wounded in the rampage dismissed the outburst.

"He said it like a scared little boy and couldn't talk slow enough that anyone could understand him," said Nate Mueller, who was nicked in the ear in the shooting.

Dina Parmertor, mother of victim Daniel, called Lane "a pathetic excuse for a human being" and wished upon him "an extremely, slow torturous death." She said she has nightmares and her family has been physically sick over the crimes.

"From now on, he will only be a killer," she said, as Lane's smile widened. "I want him to feel my anger toward him."

Prosecutors say Lane took a .22-caliber pistol and a knife to the school and fired 10 shots at a group of students in the cafeteria. Daniel Parmertor and Demetrius Hewlin, both 16, and Russell King Jr., 17, were killed.

Lane was at Chardon waiting for a bus to the alternative school he attended, for students who haven't done well in traditional settings.

Six days before the rampage, Lane had sent a text message to his sister, who attended Chardon High school, and mentioned a school shooting, Geauga County Prosecutor James Flaiz disclosed after the sentencing. He gave no details about what the message said.

"The way the text message was phrased to his sister, I'm not sure she would have taken it as anything. I think only when you look at it in retrospect does it really have the impact that it does now," Flaiz said.

Lane's sister, Sadie, was in the cafeteria the day of the shooting, and said outside the snow-swept courthouse that the brother she saw in court wasn't the one she remembers. She asked for prayers for her family.

"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 in a positive way from the point of view that only he can give," she said.

She spoke and left the courthouse before Flaiz addressed reporters.

Flaiz said he has a theory about the motive but wouldn't discuss it until he has a chance to meet with the families of victims and answer their questions.

Lane's courtroom behavior came as a surprise, he added.

" I am totally disgusted by that," Flaiz said. "What he did today is consistent with what we thought of him all along."

One of Lane's defense attorneys, Ian Friedman, also said he was caught off-guard by the comments. The defense had signaled earlier that Lane wouldn't speak in court and didn't want anyone to speak for him.

Lane had pleaded guilty last month to three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of attempted aggravated murder and one count of felonious assault.

Life imprisonment without parole was the maximum sentence Lane faced. He wasn't eligible for the death penalty because he was 17 at the time of the shootings. Relatives of the slain students indicated earlier they wanted Lane to get the maximum sentence.

In addition to three life sentences without chance of parole, Geauga County Common Pleas Judge David Fuhry also gave Lane sentences totaling 37 additional years for attempted murder and felonious assault and using a weapon in the crimes.

Comments
Solid waste director gets job back

Solid waste director gets job back

NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County is rehiring its former solid waste director who blew the whistle on a behind-the-scenes effort to buy a privately owned landfill in Sumter County. John Power, who worked previously for the county for 19 years, is schedu...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Sarasota student under fire over his racist ‘promposal’

Sarasota student under fire over his racist ‘promposal’

The Sarasota County School District has begun to address the community after a Riverview High School student’s racist prom proposal over the weekend went viral, including reaching out to the Sarasota chapter of the NAACP.High school senior Noah Crowl...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Top places to hang with your dog in Tampa Bay, from breweries to baseball games

Top places to hang with your dog in Tampa Bay, from breweries to baseball games

Dogs are more welcome in public than ever these days. Bars and restaurants are making themselves more pet-friendly and you can find weekly "yappy hours" happening at spots all over Tampa Bay. Add to that a healthy number of dog-approved events and e...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Court sides with human in copyright fight over monkey selfie

Court sides with human in copyright fight over monkey selfie

SAN FRANCISCO — A U.S. appeals court on Monday favored humans over animals in a novel copyright lawsuit filed over a series of entertaining selfies taken by a monkey with a toothy grin. U.S. copyright law does not allow lawsuits that seek to give ani...
Updated: 1 hour ago
USF extends Mark Harlan’s contract

USF extends Mark Harlan’s contract

As expected, USF athletic director Mark Harlan has signed a contract extension that will keep him at the school through the 2020-21 school year.Harlan recently entered the final year of the original five-year deal he signed in March 2014 that paid hi...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Top 5 at noon: NRA breaks fundraising record after Parkland massacre; attorneys: Seminole Heights murder suspect might be mentally ill; and more

Top 5 at noon: NRA breaks fundraising record after Parkland massacre; attorneys: Seminole Heights murder suspect might be mentally ill; and more

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com.NRA BREAKS FUNDRAISING RECORD AFTER PARKLAND MASSACREAs the student-led March for Our Lives movement captured the nation’s attention in the weeks after the Parkland shooting, the other side o...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Buckhorn urged to name woman as fire chief in wake of discrimination suit

Buckhorn urged to name woman as fire chief in wake of discrimination suit

TAMPA — In the wake of a female firefighter’s victory against the city in a discrimination lawsuit, Mayor Bob Buckhorn is being urged to name a high-ranking woman to replace retiring fire Chief Tom Forward.Earlier this month, Buckhorn said he will na...
Updated: 2 hours ago
So far, Pasco’s tourism base: Floridians, Canadians

So far, Pasco’s tourism base: Floridians, Canadians

NEW PORT RICHEY – The typical tourist in Pasco County this year most likely is a Floridian.But there are lots of Canadians here as well. Nearly 80 percent drove, rather than flew, to the region. Forty percent stayed in hotels, but more than a quarter...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Girls hockey could replace boys lacrosse on Pasco tourism calendar

Girls hockey could replace boys lacrosse on Pasco tourism calendar

NEW PORT RICHEY – Hockey pucks could replace lacrosse balls as the required sports equipment for the holiday tourism season in Wesley Chapel.The Wickenheiser World Female Hockey Festival, founded by Canadian hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser, is seek...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Attorneys: Seminole Heights murder suspect might be mentally ill

Attorneys: Seminole Heights murder suspect might be mentally ill

TAMPA — Attorneys for the man accused of four Seminole Heights murders want a psychologist to determine if their client is mentally ill.The lawyers filed a formal request late Monday for a judge to appoint an expert to assess whether Howell Emanuel D...
Updated: 2 hours ago