Ohio school shooting: State likely to seek adult trial for teen suspect
Suspect T.J. Lane appeared in juvenile court Tuesday, where the judge ordered him held in custody pending trial for Monday's school shooting in Chardon, Ohio. The state is one that routinely transfers minors to adult court.
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Judge Grendell ordered media not to take photographs or video images that show the faces of T.J. or his family. He also imposed a gag order on defense lawyers, at the prosecution's request, preventing T.J.'s attorneys from talking in public or to reporters about the case. T.J's detention order is for 15 days. Charges will be read at the next hearing on March 6. A probable cause hearing related to the prosecution's request to try T.J. as an adult is set for March 19.Skip to next paragraph
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T.J. did not attend Chardon High School, the scene of the crime located about 30 miles east of Cleveland, but instead was enrolled at Lake Academy in nearby Willoughby. The school serves at-risk students from Grades 7 to 12 from eight school districts in the area.
A website for the school says that it offers “an alternative education program … for students who are experiencing serious challenges in meeting expectations within traditional school settings” and that many of its students are considered “reluctant learners” who “may be struggling with a verity of individual problems, such as: substance abuse/chemical dependency, anger issues, mental health issues, truancy, delinquency, difficulties with attention/organization, and academic deficiencies.”
A spokesperson for the academy would not answer questions related to the incident, citing privacy concerns. Brian Bontempo, the school’s superintendent, said in a statement that the school is “fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation” and is providing counseling and intervention services to its students and staff.
The Chardon Public School District was closed Tuesday and will not reopen for classes until Friday. Grief counselors were available to the community at two schools Tuesday, and a candlelight vigil was scheduled Tuesday night at an area church.
No motive for the shooting has been made public. Some students had said that T.J. may have been bullied, and a poem that appeared on his Facebook profile, which ended with the line, “Die, all of you,” added to the speculation. His Facebook page has since been taken down.
However, some information has emerged about T.J.'s rocky family life, which local students say he largely kept to himself.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that T.J. lived with his grandparents and appeared to have had a tumultuous childhood, witnessing acts of violent acts between his parents. Before he was two, his father and mother were both arrested for domestic violence against each other. T.J.'s father has a long record of arrests for violent crimes against women, including his wife, and served prison time for assaulting a police officer, the newspaper reported.
T.J.’s family released a statement through Robert Farnacci, a lawyer, to say they are devastated by the news and wished “to extend their heartfelt and sincere condolences” to the victims' families.
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