CHARDON, Ohio - A Geauga County judge has determined alleged Chardon High School shooter TJ Lane, 17, is mentally able to stand trial in the deaths of three students.
Judge Timothy Grendell made the decision based on numerous factors, including an expert's evaluation after a 6 hour and 15 minute meeting with the teen. Dr. Phillip Resnick, a psychiatrist and graduate of Case Western University, said Lane has a mental illness, but the psychosis diagnosis does not interfere with Lane's ability to understand the charges against him.
Resnick explained psychosis is a loss of contact with reality and Lane's symptoms include withdrawal, auditory hallucinations and involuntary fantasies. Prosecutors asked Resnick if the teen was ever diagnosed with a mental illness prior to this evaluation.
"(Lane) was never treated because he was never diagnosed," Resnick answered.
"Based on on Dr. Resnick's report and the lack of evidence that impairs TJ Lane's ability to understand the juvenile proceedings against him and (Lane's) ability to help his attorneys. Based on court observations and (Lane's) demeanor in court," Judge Grendell said, he believes Lane understands the nature of the juvenile charges against him and determined Lane is competent to stand trial.
A probable cause bindover hearing is scheduled for May 24 at 9 a.m., opening the door for Lane to be tried as an adult.
Under a new state law, a child is found competent only if he's able to grasp the seriousness of the charges and able to understand the proceedings. The prosecutor has said that Lane is "not well."
On Feb. 27, Lane allegedly opened fire in Chardon High School's cafeteria, killing three students, Demetrius Hewlin, Russell King Jr. and Daniel Parmertor, and injuring two others.
King's mother and another family member were in the courtroom for Wednesday's hearing. The uncle of Parmertor also attended. Lane, who wore a blue button-down long-sleeved dress shirt, never looked over at the victims' family members. He sat emotionless, only looking at the judge and his lawyer.