Monday, January 07, 2013 12:17 pm
New evidence delays Ohio school shooting trial
By THOMAS J. SHEERANAssociated Press
The nature of the evidence wasn't disclosed as prosecutors and attorneys for T.J. Lane jointly asked Geauga County Common Pleas Judge David Fuhry to postpone next week's start of the trial.
The judge agreed during a brief hearing and said he would schedule another hearing in late January to discuss a new trial date for the case in this tight-knit community east of Cleveland.
Lane, dressed in a brown open-collar shirt and dark slacks, sat through the hearing with his hands folded on his lap amid tight courtroom security.
In view of the joint motion, the judge agreed it was in the best interests of justice to delay the trial. He said it was apparent there was "voluminous" new evidence to be reviewed.
Still, he said, "Nobody likes a continuance."
He said a pool of jurors who had been alerted in November to be ready for possible duty for a Jan. 14 trial lasting six weeks or more would be discharged, and a new pool selected. The judge it wouldn't be fair to ask the November pool to rearrange schedules again.
Both sides mentioned the new evidence in carefully couched terms.
Geauga County Prosecutor James Flaiz said the state needs time for forensic analysis of evidence, again without specifying what. An attorney for Lane, Ian Friedman, said the defense would be ready to discuss a new trial date in late January if it receives all materials that have emerged.
Prosecutors say Lane took a .22-caliber pistol and a knife to Chardon High School last Feb. 27 and fired 10 shots at a group of students in the cafeteria.
Lane was at the school waiting for a bus to his alternative school.
Investigators say Lane admitted to shooting at students and told them he didn't know why he did it.
He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole if convicted of the shootings in the Chardon High School cafeteria last February.
Because he was 17 at the time of the crime, Lane isn't eligible for the death penalty. He is being tried as an adult and has filed an insanity plea.
The judge has put off a defense request to move the trial out of grief-stricken Chardon, where ribbons tied to trees remind people of the tragedy.