T.J. Lane will spend the rest of his life in prison for killing three fellow students at Chardon High School last year. That's where he belongs.
If there was any doubt about denying this 18-year-old even a prayer of freedom for the rest of his life, he erased that with the horrendous spectacle he staged during his sentencing March 19 in Geauga County Common Pleas Court in Chardon.
Lane made a mockery of the proceedings by stripping off his shirt to reveal a T-shirt with the word "Killer" scrawled across it. He went out of his way to insult the parents of the boys he killed with a vulgar tirade that included an obscene gesture. He smirked and mugged for the camera while the victims shared their pain. He deliberately inflicted even more hurt on those whose lives he changed forever on that morning in February 2012 -- as if they hadn't been hurt enough.
He showed absolutely no remorse, but instead seemed to glory in the horror he perpetrated. His actions were nothing short of nauseating.
Almost as appalling, however, is that fact that this grandstanding punk was allowed to engage in his insulting antics in a hall of justice.
Common Pleas Judge David Fuhry said after the hearing that he was unaware of the "Killer" T-shirt because Lane spent most of the hearing with his back to the judge. We have heard the saying that justice is "blind," but in this case it appears that Judge Fuhry was, too. Didn't he see the defendant remove his shirt in the courtroom? Shouldn't that have been a tip-off, or do defendants in Geauga County routinely disrobe during hearings? And, even if his line of sight was impaired, the judge certainly heard the defendant insult the victims as well as the court. Why didn't he respond? Why didn't this judge assert control over his courtroom?
Dina Parmertor, whose son, Daniel, died at the hands of T.J. Lane, faced her son's killer March 19. She called him "a pathetic excuse for a human being … a monster … a weak, pathetic, vile coward." That grieving mother spoke for more than herself.
The families of T.J. Lane's victims will never recover from the losses he inflicted on them, and he added insult to injury with his outburst in Judge Fuhry's courtroom. If there is any comfort to be found, it may lie in the fact that he will never know a day of freedom. Justice prevails, even when a killer mocks it.