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Settlement reached for families of 3 killed in school shooting

CLEVELAND – The families of the three teenagers killed in a 2012 school shooting rampage have agreed to settle a lawsuit filed against relatives of the killer, with each of the estates receiving about $890,000.

A Geauga County probate judge overseeing the teens’ estates agreed Tuesday to make the settlement public, saying he wanted to send the message that parents can be held financially responsible if their children use a gun to hurt or kill someone.

“You can’t put a dollar amount on the loss of a child,” said the judge, Timothy Grendell. “But the settlement is fair and reasonable under the circumstances of this case.”

The estates of Daniel Parmertor, Russell King Jr. and Demetrius Hewlin originally sued gunman T.J. Lane, his parents, grandparents and an uncle in neighboring Lake County. Parmertor and Hewlin were 16 when they were killed. King was 17.

Numerous lawsuits have been filed on behalf of those killed and wounded by Lane, some of which have been settled and some of which still are pending. The settlement announced Tuesday will be paid primarily from insurance policies held by one of Lane’s grandfathers. Attorneys who filed the suit will receive 40 percent of the total $2.7 million settlement.

Lane killed the three teens and wounded three others inside Chardon High School outside Cleveland on Feb. 27, 2012. He was 17 years old at the time but went to trial as an adult in Geauga County, where he pleaded guilty to all counts before the case got to a jury. A judge sentenced him to three life terms.

The lead attorney in the lawsuit, W. Craig Bashein, said he agreed with Grendell’s decision to make the settlement public.

“Both the families and I are dedicated to prevent a tragedy like this from occurring again,” Bashein said. “Hopefully, this case can contribute to that ongoing effort.”