How Chardon HS shooter snuck 'killer' t-shirt into court - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

How Chardon HS shooter snuck 'killer' t-shirt into court

Posted: Updated:

(ABC News) -- Chardon school shooter TJ Lane likely got up in the middle of the night before his sentencing to scrawl the word "killer" across a prison T-shirt, a brazen move that shocked his attorney, victims' families and even the judge, according to the Geauga County Sheriff's Office.

After the convicted killer arrived in court for his sentencing hearing on Tuesday, he unbuttoned his blue button down shirt to reveal the T-shirt. There were gasps in the courtroom.

Shortly after, Lane, 18, spewed vile and unprintable words at the families of three students he killed, gave them the finger and then laughed and smiled as they described him as an animal and a monster.

Lt. John Hiscox, Jr. of the Geauga County Sheriff's Office said that inmates at the jail are allowed to have three t-shirts, underwear and socks in their room. They also have pliable rubber pens for writing letters and filling out commissary forms.

"What the sheriff thinks happened is in the middle of the night, prior to him going up to court, he had taken one of his T-shirts and wrote the word on it, put the T-shirt on under his jail uniform," Hiscox said.

Inmates wear street clothes to hearings, Hiscox said, so Lane's clothes were brought to the jail, checked and put in a changing room.

"Then they're patted down as they're being put in the back of the cruiser, but no one would have seen the writing on the shirt because it's already now concealed under his shirt for court," the lieutenant said. "Everybody in the whole courtroom was completely taken aback by that. No one in a million years would have guessed that that would happen."

Hiscox said that the shirt and Lane's statement both showed a "total disrespect" for the victims and their families.

"It was probably one of the ugliest things I've ever witnessed," he said.

Lane was waiting for a bus to an alternative school when he killed three students during a Feb. 27, 2012 rampage at Chardon High School. Daniel Parmertor, 16, Demetrius Hewlin, 16, and Russell King Jr., 17, died in the attack. Three other students were injured.

Lane chuckled when the judge sentenced him to three life terms in prison with no chance for parole.

Lane was transferred today to Lorain Correctional Institution in Grafton, Ohio. From there, the state will decide at what prison he will serve out his three life sentences.

When asked if Lane could be punished in any way for the T-shirt, Hiscox said, "It's pretty hard to punish somebody when you just gave somebody three life sentences."

Geauga County Common Pleas Court Judge David Fuhry released a statement saying that he did not notice the T-shirt in the courtroom since Lane was seated for the sentencing aside from when the judge entered the chamber.

"Had the court noticed the shirt, the court would have immediately stopped the proceedings, adjourned the court and the court would have ordered the defendant to put on proper attire," the judge's statement said, according to ABC News' Cleveland affiliate WEWS.

In regards to Lane's verbal statement, the judge wrote, "However disgusting it may be, the defendant has a right to make a statement at sentencing."

Lane's attorney Ian Friedman was also stunned by the vulgarity.

"I think everyone in that courtroom was shocked," Friedman told WEWS. "It was something that was not expected and something that I hope no one ever has to experience again."

Friedman expressed his sympathy for the victims and their families, saying that it was "painful" to be in courtroom, even as a defense attorney with a job to do.

"I've stood in a lot of emotional courts, but this specific act and turning to the families of the deceased like that with a message similar to that, I have not seen that before," he said.

  • RegionalMore>>

  • Thousands of officers can access Ohio facial-recognition system

    Thousands of officers can access Ohio facial-recognition system

    Friday, August 1 2014 4:39 PM EDT2014-08-01 20:39:00 GMT
    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office said it continues to reduce the number of law-enforcement officers statewide who have access to controversial facial-recognition technology. The system rolled out last year allows police to take an image of an unknown person and run it through a database of 23 million Ohio driver's license photos and prison mug shots to try to establish a match. State officials said it has resulted in at least one murder arrest. About 30,000 pol...
    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office said it continues to reduce the number of law-enforcement officers statewide who have access to controversial facial-recognition technology. The system rolled out last year allows police to take an image of an unknown person and run it through a database of 23 million Ohio driver's license photos and prison mug shots to try to establish a match. State officials said it has resulted in at least one murder arrest. About 30,000 pol...
  • Bedford library asking for 0.25 mill/5-year levy

    Bedford library asking for 0.25 mill/5-year levy

    Friday, August 1 2014 12:00 PM EDT2014-08-01 16:00:25 GMT
    Voters in Bedford Township will see a levy on the primary ballot next Tuesday. It's for the library, and those who work there say if it doesn't pass, the future of the branch may be in jeopardy. Voters signed off on renovations to the Bedford Branch Library when they passed a levy in 2002. Two years ago, it expired. Now, the township is going back to the voters, asking for another levy for less money. It's not to be confused with a separate recent levy that funds the county-wide library syst...
    Voters in Bedford Township will see a levy on the primary ballot next Tuesday. It's for the library, and those who work there say if it doesn't pass, the future of the branch may be in jeopardy. Voters signed off on renovations to the Bedford Branch Library when they passed a levy in 2002. Two years ago, it expired. Now, the township is going back to the voters, asking for another levy for less money. It's not to be confused with a separate recent levy that funds the county-wide library syst...
  • Perkins K9 leads Troopers to 188 bindles of heroin

    Perkins K9 leads Troopers to 188 bindles of heroin

    Friday, August 1 2014 7:45 AM EDT2014-08-01 11:45:01 GMT
    Nearly 200 packets of heroin are off the streets thanks to a K9 officer from Perkins Township. The state highway patrol called for the assistance of Officer "Uganda" during a recent traffic stop. Uganda was able to sniff out 188 bindles of heroin. They were all inside of a vehicle on the turnpike near U.S. 250. Perkins Township police posted this pictures to Facebook including a picture of Officer Uganda. No word yet on who troopers arrested, but Perkins Police, who assisted with the bust, po...
    Nearly 200 packets of heroin are off the streets thanks to a K9 officer from Perkins Township. The state highway patrol called for the assistance of Officer "Uganda" during a recent traffic stop. Uganda was able to sniff out 188 bindles of heroin. They were all inside of a vehicle on the turnpike near U.S. 250. Perkins Township police posted this pictures to Facebook including a picture of Officer Uganda. No word yet on who troopers arrested, but Perkins Police, who assisted with the bust, po...
  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • Lucas Co. jail employee accused of sexually assaulting former inmate

    Lucas Co. jail employee accused of sexually assaulting former inmate

    Friday, August 1 2014 7:59 PM EDT2014-08-01 23:59:19 GMT
    A Lucas County jail employee is on paid administrative leave. The employee is accused of sexually assaulting a former inmate not on jail property. The Toledo Police Department is investigating, and the Lucas County Sheriff's Office has launched an investigation. We'll continue to follow this story as it develops.
    A Lucas County jail employee is on paid administrative leave. The employee is accused of sexually assaulting a former inmate not on jail property. The Toledo Police Department is investigating, and the Lucas County Sheriff's Office has launched an investigation. We'll continue to follow this story as it develops.
  • This is Home! - August 1, 2014

    This is Home! - August 1, 2014

  • July ends with record cold

    July ends with record cold

    Friday, August 1 2014 6:31 PM EDT2014-08-01 22:31:57 GMT
    This past month will go into the record books as the 3rd coldest and 8th driest July ever recorded.
    This past month will go into the record books as the 3rd coldest and 8th driest July ever recorded.

Area Events Calendar

See It, Shoot It, Send It!