The student who killed three people and wounded three others in a shooting at Chardon High School will be sentenced on Tuesday. T.J. Lane pleaded guilty last month to aggravated murder and other charges, and goes before Judge David Fuhry today in Geauga County. ideastream’s Nick Castele reports.
T.J. Lane can’t be given the death penalty because of his age. He was under 18 when he committed the murders. In that case, the penalty for his crime is life in prison. The judge could grant him eligibility for parole after he serves a minimum of 26 years.
Judge David Fuhry has ordered a pre-sentencing investigation to inform his decision. Law professor J. Dean Carro at the University of Akron explains.
CARRO: “A judge will look at the history of the defendant in terms of family, some defendants’ work history, past criminal history, the possibility of rehabilitation.”
Carro says that could include any psychiatric reports obtained by Lane’s attorneys when they were preparing an insanity defense -- a strategy Lane later abandoned.
Carro says if the judge concludes there’s a low risk that Lane will commit another crime, he is more likely eventually to come up for parole. The judge will have to weigh that evidence with the wishes of the victims and of victims’ families.
Prosecutor Jim Flaiz made those wishes clear last month when Lane’s guilty plea was accepted.
FLAIZ: “The community, the families, the victims, what they’ve told us, and what we believe, is that this defendant never leaving a prison cell would be the most fair and just result that we could have in this case.”
Victims and their families will be able to address the court at sentencing. Defense attorney Ian Friedman declined to say whether Lane would speak, too.