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Ohio teen TJ Lane charged with 3 juvenile counts of aggravated murder in school shootings

Ohio shooting suspect TJ Lane outside his juvenile court hearing on Feb. 28, 2012
The News-Herald
Ohio shooting suspect TJ Lane outside his juvenile court hearing on Feb. 28, 2012
The News-Herald

(AP) CHARDON, Ohio - The Ohio 17-year-old accused of opening fire in a school cafeteria Monday has been charged with three juvenile counts of aggravated murder. This is the first step in proceedings that could see him charged as an adult.

Pictures: 3 killed, 2 injured in Ohio high school shootingPictures: Ohio high school shooting victims

Geauga County prosecutor David Joyce announced the charges against TJ Lane, who allegedly shot and killed three students and wounded two others at Chardon High School. The indictment also includes two counts of attempted aggravated murder and one count of felonious assault.

The juvenile counts would mean Lane would serve only a few years in detention if convicted. But the prosecutor has already said he plans to try the boy as an adult. If convicted as an adult, Lane could and face the possibility of life without parole. Minors are not eligible for the death penalty in Ohio, whether they are convicted as juveniles or adults.

No motive has been determined. Joyce has said that victims were selected at random and that Lane is someone "who's not well."

Lane admitted taking a .22-caliber pistol and a knife to Chardon High and firing 10 shots at a group of students sitting at a cafeteria table Monday morning, Joyce said.

Demetrius Hewlin, 16, Russell King Jr., 17, and Daniel Parmertor, 16, were all killed. The motive for the shooting is unclear, though Joyce has appeared to rule out theories involving bullying or drug-dealing.

According to Steve Sawczak, a family friend whois a pastor and has worked with troubled children, Lane was a normal boy who excelled in school and played outside often with his sister, building snow hills and skateboarding.

Sawczak said he never would have allowed his own grandchildren to play nearby if he thought anything was wrong with Lane.

Complete coverage of the Chardon school shooting on Crimesider