Accused Ohio high school shooter to be transferred to adult detention facility
Geauga County Common Pleas Judge David L. Fuhry has ruled that accused Chardon High School shooter Thomas Lane III (T.J. Lane) should be transferred to an adult detention facility.
Lane is currently detained at the Portage-Geauga Juvenile Detention Center in Ravenna, and Fuhry ruled that Lane will be transferred to the Geauga County Safety Center on September 24 unless “good cause can be demonstrated that such a transfer should not take place.”
Lane will turn 18 on September 19, and Fuhry explained that the move “would facilitate his attendance at upcoming Court hearings given the proximity of the Safety Center versus the Detention Center.”
Defense attorneys are seeking further psychological evaluation before deciding whether to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. The defense currently has until October 1 to make this determination, however they are seeking an extension.
The defense has also filed a motion for a change of venue. In its brief to the court, the defense asserts that the pretrial publicity and media attacks will deprive Lane of a fair trial. Specifically, defense attorney Anne Walton makes references to approximately 1,200 memorials, the prevalence of the “One Heartbeat” campaign (a citizens campaign of remembrance for the victims) around the courthouse, and the density of media coverage in newspaper articles and television broadcasts in comparison to the small close-knit community of Geauga County.
“No matter how well intentioned the citizenry is,” writes Walton, “it is inconceivable that after this event and the publicity and feelings that arose out of it, any reasonable person in Geauga County could keep an open mind or judge the defendant fairly.”
The prosecution opposed the motion for change of venue, contending that the media coverage of the incident has been “rather tame given the subject being covered” and that it is premature to change a venue before even attempting to seat a jury.
Wild About Trial will continue to keep you updated on this case and provide expert legal analysis as news develops.
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