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 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 statement released later to local media by the court on the judge’s behalf said that he wasn’t aware of the shirt and that if he had noticed it he would have halted the proceedings and ordered Lane to wear proper attire.