WARREN, Ohio — A teenager who wore a T-shirt with "killer" scrawled across it and gestured obscenely at his sentencing has appealed his life prison term for killing three students in a school cafeteria.
The court-appointed attorney for T.J. Lane, 18, filed the appeal Thursday with the 11th Ohio District Court of Appeals challenging his sentence handed down in Chardon last month. The brief filing also cited the decision moving his case to adult court.
Lane was 17 at the time of the shooting rampage in February 2012.
His court-appointed attorney, Michael Partlow, said Monday a key focus would be whether a juvenile at the time of a crime can be sentenced to life without chance of parole.
Geauga County Prosecutor James Flaiz said the appeal had been expected. "I feel strongly the judge's sentence will be upheld and we will vigorously defend the sentence and work on the appeal in our office," he told The (Willoughby) News-Herald (bit.ly/15Cj3Fi).
Lane pleaded guilty in February to the shooting rampage in February 2012 at Chardon High School, east of Cleveland. Investigators have said he admitted to the shooting but said he didn't know why he did it.
At his sentencing, Lane wore a T-shirt with "killer" scrawled across it and cursed and gestured obscenely to relatives of victims gathered in the hushed courtroom.
Lane was defiant during the sentencing, smiling and smirking throughout, including while four relatives of victims spoke.
After he came into court, he calmly unbuttoned his blue dress shirt to reveal the T-shirt reading "killer," which the prosecutor noted was similar to one he wore during the shooting.
Prosecutors say Lane took a .22-caliber pistol and a knife to the school and fired 10 shots at a group of students in the cafeteria. Daniel Parmertor and Demetrius Hewlin, both 16, and Russell King Jr., 17, were killed and three students were wounded.
Lane was at Chardon waiting for a bus to the alternative school he attended, for students who haven't done well in traditional settings.