Wearing a T-shirt with “killer” scrawled across it, teenager T.J. Lane cursed and gestured obscenely as he was given three life sentences in a Cleveland-area courtroom Tuesday for shooting to death three students in an Ohio high school cafeteria in February 2012.
Lane, 18, had pleaded guilty in adult court last month to shooting at students 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.
Lane, who last year was ruled mentally competent to stand trial (despite evidence he suffers from hallucinations, psychosis and fantasies) was defiant during the sentencing, smiling and smirking throughout, including while four relatives of victims spoke.
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. He then cursed at and raised his middle finger toward the victims’ relatives.
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.
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.