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Life sentence upheld in fatal Ohio school shooting

CHARDON, Ohio (AP) -- A teenager who fatally shot three students in a school cafeteria didn't have his constitutional rights violated when he was given a prison sentence of life without parole, an appeals court said Monday while providing new details about the shooting, including the killer's assertion he was never bullied.

The court ruled unanimously to uphold the sentence handed down to T.J. Lane following the shooting at Chardon High School, in northeast Ohio, in February 2012, saying it did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. The court also rejected arguments by defense attorneys that the law allowing the 17-year-old shooter's case to be transferred to adult court was unconstitutional.

The three-judge court also ruled that the three consecutive life sentences, one for each victim, were justified.

Lane "did not act on impulse, on provocation, or under pressure from peers or adults," the court said. "To the contrary, he planned this attack weeks in advance before he went to school that day with a loaded gun."

Lane "also brought indescribable pain, grief, and lifelong tragedy to the victims' families," the court said.

Messages were left with his attorneys seeking comment on Monday.

School Shooter T.J. Lane Wears 'Killer' Shirt To Sentencing

The court opinion included new details about the case, including descriptions of Lane's actions the day of the shooting.

"He said he does not have problems with anyone and was not upset with anyone," according to the court's ruling. "He said that no one had bullied him. This was just something he chose to do."

Lane gained new infamy at his sentencing when he wore a T-shirt with "killer" scrawled across it and gestured obscenely toward the victims' families.

Monday's ruling offered more details about a similar shirt he wore under a dress shirt the day of the shootings.

Lane bought the shirt with the word "killer" printed across the chest about a week earlier, the opinion said. He said he wore it "because he was going to be shooting people," according to the ruling.

In interviews with Geauga County detectives that day, Lane said he knew what he did was wrong, the ruling said. Lane "feels terrible for doing it; and he has regret," it said.

Lane admitted to a psychologist that he had lied to another psychologist, Phillip Resnick, about being schizophrenic and hearing voices. He said he also lied about having been sexually abused.

"He said he lied about his report of being a victim of sexual abuse because he thought it `couldn't hurt' to say he was," the decision said.

Lane told the second psychologist, Dr. Lynn Luna Jones, he decided to admit he'd made everything up because, if he didn't, he was afraid "they wouldn't let me change my plea to guilty."

In February, on the second anniversary of the shooting, family members of the slain teenagers said in a lawsuit that the school didn't have enough security and that the alternative school Lane attended didn't properly evaluate the risks he posed. The school district wouldn't comment on the lawsuit after it was filed.

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lk4yng May 13 2014 at 9:48 AM

To all the people that posted political barbs. You are all fools. The article has nothing to do with politics. This kid deserves the sentence he got, but believe me, the president or any in congress had nothing to do with this. I am a middle of the road guy politically. However, you far right or far left morons should start your own country and leave this one to the people that really care.

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1 reply
twhodog1 lk4yng May 13 2014 at 10:18 AM

so true these extreme fools need to move

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aadelilah May 13 2014 at 8:20 AM

So you are telling me that we have to feed and clothe this idiot for the next 50 years? That is not justice for 317 million people who will waste money keeping this kid alive. Justice for all would have been a swift death.

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Practical Nomad May 13 2014 at 8:14 AM

PS. If you've watched the videos, you'll see this skinny kid give the finger to the families of the three he shot and killed. You'll also see him smirk while the Judge is speaking. I know it's not possible, however, wouldn't it be nice if they let the families have their way with this skinny low life, an eye for an eye? After he gave him the finger, allowed them to just beat the crap out of him? This society waste will no doubt be killed in prison. With his attitude, I'd guess sooner than later.

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Elvis May 13 2014 at 8:10 AM

For his crime, he should be tried as an ADULT. No questions asked.Screw the Unconstitutional verdict! Thats what wrong with the justice system today. The innocent get no satisfaction. He knew what he was doing.1st Degree Murder in my mind, with no malice!
Also, a death sentence should be carried down.Maybe that will send a message to all the "want to be" murderers today ".One who lives by the sword, dies by the sword."

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2 replies
jelun Elvis May 13 2014 at 8:20 AM

Elvis, leave the building.
Maybe you can read better outside. The decision stands that they young man will serve 3 CONSECUTIVE life sentences.

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christina.weber10 Elvis May 13 2014 at 9:52 AM

Reading comprehension item 1:

He was tried as an adult. The challenge to the constitutionality of trying him as an adult was DENIED. They upheld the original adult trial and sentencing.

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BROWNS May 13 2014 at 8:07 AM

He needs to write prisoner on next t-shirt

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KATHI AND JOHN May 13 2014 at 8:06 AM

did these'ems writers finish skool?

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Practical Nomad May 13 2014 at 7:51 AM

Headline....Come on guys, it's UPHELD and not UPHEALD. Who's doing the proof reading? Life in prison is where this scum belongs.

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Tye Edwards May 13 2014 at 7:46 AM

The biggest shame in this case is that 3 young people died for no other reason than this kids whim! The scecond is that this cretan can't be put to death.

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1 reply
jelun Tye Edwards May 13 2014 at 8:21 AM

Look up the meaning of whim, cretin.

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1 reply
Hi there Jeri jelun May 13 2014 at 8:40 AM

The word whim is correctly used in this instance...

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tktuttle May 13 2014 at 7:40 AM

"Life sentence upheald in fatal Ohio school shooting"


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quarterz25 May 13 2014 at 7:23 AM

Ah lets sue the school for not enough security, yet what kind of security should there be? Everytime someone brings up arming teachers there is a huge backlash. That is the only thing that could have stopped this kid. As much as people hate the statement " the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun" it is a true statement. These cowards always attack soft targets where they KNOW no guns are permitted. Too bad the Ohio tax payers have to fund him for the rest of his life.

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1 reply
Practical Nomad quarterz25 May 13 2014 at 7:58 AM

I don't "hate" the statement, but I absolutely disagree. How about stopping bad guys from getting the guns to begin with? I support the right to bear arms, however, gun owner's must be willing to be more flexible and helpful in the fight against criminals and guns. Work toward and for the cause, not be threatened by the effort and outcome.

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