Ohio school shooter TJ Lane spewed vile and unprintable words today 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.
Lane, 18, got another chuckle when the judge sentenced him to three life terms in prison with no chance for parole.
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 arrived at his sentencing hearing today wearing a blue button down shirt. After he sat down, he unbuttoned the shirt to reveal a white T-shirt with the word "killer" emblazoned across the front in black marker.
When Lane was given the opportunity to make a statement to the court, he gave a short, crude statement that ended with "f*** all of you" before sticking up his middle finger in the courtroom filled with the loved ones of the three students he gunned down.
"Frankly, I wasn't prepared for this," the prosecutor said moments after Lane's gesture. He said the action was proof that Lane is a "disgusting human being."
"This is confirming what we have known all along, that this was a cold, calculated, premeditated killing," the prosecutor said.
Lane smirked and smiled as family members of his victims called him "repulsive" and hoped for him to be locked up in a cage "like an animal" for the rest of his life.
Lane's defense attorney told the court that he "strongly urged" Lane not say what he was about to the court, but Lane proceeded anyway.
Survivor Nick Walczak was in court today. Walczak was shot twice in the neck, once in the back and once in the arm. He was left paralyzed after one of the bullets hit his spinal cord. He was friends with the three teens who were killed.
Several family members of those Lane killed and hurt were in court and made strongly worded statements.
"A few weeks prior to the shooting, Russell told his friends that he wanted to hang out with the shooter again," Russell King Jr.'s sister told the court. "He wanted to be his friend. He felt sorry for him."
The strongest words condemning Lane came from Dina Parmertor, Daniel Parmertor's mother.
"I want him to feel my anger towards him," she said. "After today I refuse to give him a second of my thoughts...He is repulsive. We don't speak his name and we never will."
Lane laughed as she spoke.
"I am in pain every minute of every day. I cry every day," she said. "I will never be the same because of him...My children look at me and do not see the same mom they used to know."
Parmertor's mom said she worries every time her family members leave the house, fearing it will be the last time she sees them.
She called him a "monster" and a "pathetic excuse for a human being."
"I hope you have a cold, rough, unkind prison life with monsters like yourself," she said. "If I had my choice you would die an extremely slow, torturous death...You're a weak, pathetic, vile coward."
"What was the motive for this merciless rampage?" the judge asked before announcing his sentence. "The answer is, we don't know. We have not been provided a clear answer or even a murky one."
Judge David Fuhry said Lane appeared to simply want to "make a big splash, make front page news."
"[He] attacked without discernible motive, provocation or reason. The court finds such a person extremely dangerous," he said.
The judge said whether Lane was in any way impaired at the time of the shooting was a big consideration. He said it was proven that Lane feigned mental illness after the shooting.
"To the contrary, TJ Lane was an intelligent student positioned to graduate early. He was not insane, incompetent or impaired on Feb. 27, 2012," the judge said. "He consciously and methodically carried out a plan to kill...Of course he knew that what he was doing was wrong."
Lane plead guilty on Feb. 26 to three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of attempted aggravated murder and one count of felonious assault. He was not eligible for the death penalty because he was 17 at the time of the shooting.
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