June 26, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Chardon school shooting trial delayed

By Thomas J. Sheeran

CHARDON — Because “voluminous” new evidence has emerged, a judge agreed Monday to indefinitely delay the murder trial of an 18-year-old charged in the high school shooting deaths of three students.

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 said 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 February and fired 10 shots at a group of students in the cafeteria.