Ohio school shooting suspect TJ Lane found competent to stand trial for deadly rampage

TJ Lane, 17, appears in Juvenile Court in Chardon, Ohio, May 2, 2012. AP Photo

(AP) CHARDON, Ohio - The teenager charged in a deadly Ohio school shooting is mentally competent to stand trial in the deaths of three students, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Judge Timothy Grendell in Geauga County Juvenile Court heard from the prosecution and a lawyer for 17-year-old TJ Lane before making his decision. The consideration of the mental competency issue delayed a hearing on whether Lane would be tried as an adult.

Lane was charged in the Feb. 27 Chardon High School rampage that also left two students seriously wounded. Police said he opened fire in the cafeteria in the school east of Cleveland, though the motive was unclear.

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The charges filed against him include three counts of aggravated murder and two counts of attempted aggravated murder.

Under a new state law, a child can be found competent only if he or she is able to grasp the seriousness of the charges and able to understand the proceedings. The law says a child with a mental illness or an intellectual or developmental disability may not be found competent.

Geauga County Prosecutor David Joyce has said that Lane is "not well" but did not elaborate.

The judge ordered a mental competency exam for Lane about a month after the shooting without offering further explanation.

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