The court battle over the Chardon Healing Fund is far from over, but Thursday brought a partial victory for the victims' families.
CHARDON, Ohio - The attorney for Chardon High School shooter TJ Lane had no idea his client was going to mock his victims in court during sentencing on Tuesday.
The 18-year-old wore a T-shirt with the word "KILLER" written on it. Lane walked into the courtroom in a blue button-down shirt before sitting down and revealing the white T-shirt with letters handwritten in black marker.
"I think everyone in that courtroom was shocked today. It was something that was not expected and something that no one ever has to experience it again," defense attorney Ian Friedman said.
Lane addressed the victim's families in Geauga County Common Pleas Court and made a rambling statement.
"This hand that pulled the trigger that killed your sons now masturbates to the memory. F*** all of you," Lane said.
Friedman said he had never seen anything like that.
"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, I have not seen that before," Friedman said. "Sure, the second everyone in the courtroom saw it, that was the first thought we all had. But, as judge said, TJ had the right to speak and that's what he chose to say. If people could have changed, it they certainly would have."
Friedman said Lane was quickly whisked away by sheriff's deputies following the hearing. He has not spoken to his client since he was given three life sentences without the possibility of parole.
Geauga County Common Pleas Court Judge David Fuhry said he couldn't tell Lane was wearing the "KILLER" T-shirt.
"In dealing with Judge Fuhry for the past year, he's a great judge. He's so professional. If he's saying he didn't see it, I take his word. I have no reason to question that," Friedman said.
Friedman also said his thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.
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