CHARDON, Ohio – A teenager who fatally shot three students in a school cafeteria didn’t have his constitutional rights violated when he was given a life sentence, an appeals court said Monday while providing new details about the shooting, including the killer’s assertion he was never bullied.
The court ruled unanimously to uphold the sentence handed down to T.J. Lane following the shooting at Chardon High School in northeast Ohio, saying it did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. The court also rejected arguments by Lane’s attorneys that the law allowing his case to be transferred to adult court was unconstitutional.
The three-judge court also ruled that the three consecutive life sentences were justified.
Lane “did not act on impulse, on provocation, or under pressure from peers or adults,” the court said. “To the contrary, he planned this attack weeks in advance before he went to school that day with a loaded gun.”
Lane “also brought indescribable pain, grief, and lifelong tragedy to the victims’ families,” the court said.
Messages were left with his attorneys seeking comment.
The 36-page opinion included new details about the case, including descriptions of Lane’s actions the day of the shooting that have never been revealed.
“He said he does not have problems with anyone and was not upset with anyone,” according to the court’s ruling. “He said that no one had bullied him. This was just something he chose to do.”
Lane gained new infamy at his sentencing when he wore a T-shirt with “killer” scrawled across it and gestured obscenely toward the victims’ families.
Monday’s ruling offered more details about a similar shirt he wore under a dress shirt the day of the shootings.
Lane bought the shirt with the word “killer” printed across the chest about a week earlier, the opinion said. He said he wore it “because he was going to be shooting people,” according to the ruling.
Lane admitted to a psychologist that he lied to another psychologist, Phillip Resnick, about being schizophrenic and hearing voices.
He said he also lied about having been sexually abused.
“He said he lied about his report of being a victim of sexual abuse because he thought it ‘couldn’t hurt’ to say he was,” the decision said.