(USA TODAY) -- The judge in the murder case of Ohio school shooter T.J. Lane says he
did not see the "killer" T-shirt Lane was wearing at Tuesday's
sentencing hearing or he would have ordered him to change clothes.
who pleaded guilty last month to killing three students at an
alternative high school in Chardon, Ohio, walked into the courtroom and
took off a button shirt, revealing a white T-shirt with the word
"killer" scrawled in pen. Lane wore a similar shirt on Feb. 26, 2012 --
the day he fired 10 shots into the school cafeteria.
Judge David Fuhry issued a statement after the hearing:
court was unaware of the shirt. The court did not notice the shirt. Had
the court noticed the shirt, the court would have immediately stopped
the proceedings, adjourned the court and the court would have ordered
the defendant to put on proper attire."
Geauga County Sheriff
Dan McClelland said inmates are allowed to have pens to write letters.
He said the shirt was covered and no deputies saw it until Lane
displayed it in the courtroom.
Defense lawyer Ian Friedman said he
did not know about the shirt in advance. "The defense would like to
again extend its prayers and thoughts to all those who have been
affected by this terrible case," Friedman said.
Lane, 18, added to
his abrasive court appearance by making a brief statement: "The hand
that pulled the trigger that killed your sons now masturbates to their
memory. (Expletive) all of you," he said, flipping his middle finger at
Victims' relatives addressing the court expressed
rage at Lane. Holly Walczak told Lane she hated him. Russell King Jr.'s
sister referred to him as an "evil, disgusting animal."
was sentenced to three life sentences, wasn't eligible for the death
penalty because he was 17 at the time of the shootings. Following the
shootings, Lane told deputies he didn't know why he fired the shots but
said, "It was something I chose to do."
In announcing the
sentence, Judge Fuhry noted that Lane had exhibited a lack of compassion
and no remorse during the proceedings. The judge said there was no
evidence that Lane suffered from mental impairment and added that Lane
knew what he was doing was wrong.
Fuhry described the shootings as a "merciless rampage," adding "We haven't been provided a clear motive or even a murky one."
John Bacon, USA TODAY