Ohio school rampage victim mourned, suspect faces hearing

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 06, 2012 8:23 AM
Ohio school rampage victim mourned, suspect faces hearing

CHARDON, Ohio (Reuters) - Mourners are set to gather Tuesday for the funeral of one of three students killed in a shooting rampage at an Ohio high school, just hours before the teen suspect is due back in court nearby for a hearing on murder charges.

Classes have resumed at Chardon High School and residents of the small community east of Cleveland will say their final farewells to two students this week who were killed in the deadliest U.S. high school shooting in six years.

T.J. Lane, 17, is accused of opening fire in the high school cafeteria eight days ago. Daniel Parmertor, 16, Demetrius Hewlin, 16, and Russell King, 17, died from wounds and two other students were hospitalized.

A visitation for Hewlin, who would have turned 17 on Thursday, was held Monday at a funeral home in Chardon. His funeral is set for Tuesday morning at a local church around the corner from the high school.

Parmertor's funeral on Saturday drew hundreds of mourners and supporters. King's funeral is set for Thursday.

Nick Walczak, 17, who was hospitalized in serious condition after the shooting, has been transferred from Cleveland Clinic's Hillcrest Hospital to Metro Health Medical Center for Intensive Rehabilitation, a Cleveland Clinic spokeswoman said.

A female student has been released from the hospital.

Less than a mile from the church and the high school, a juvenile court hearing is scheduled to determine whether Lane will be tried as an adult in the shooting.

Prosecutors on Thursday formally charged Lane as a juvenile with three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of aggravated attempted murder and one count of felonious assault.

Under Ohio law, Lane faces a mandatory transfer to adult court for the killings if Geauga County Prosecutor David Joyce can show probable cause that he committed the crimes. He could face up to life in prison without parole.

Defense attorney Bob Farinacci could waive Lane's right to a full bind-over hearing. If tried as an adult, Lane's case would go to the grand jury and more charges could be added.

Lane confessed when he was taken into custody shortly after the shooting to firing 10 shots from a .22-caliber handgun at a table of students he told police he had selected at random, Joyce said previously.

The toll in the February 27 attack was the worst in a high school shooting since a truck driver killed five schoolgirls and wounded six in October 2006 at an Amish school in Pennsylvania.

In the days after last week's shooting, students gathered in groups, put up ribbons around the town and laid a memorial on school grounds, where a flag flew at half-staff.

Students and parents marched through the Chardon streets on Thursday, and hugged Friday as classes resumed. A steady stream of people also have been gathering at a gazebo in the town square.

On Friday, Dorothy Dysert, a Chardon resident and graduate of Chardon High School, stopped at the gazebo with her daughter and 5-year-old granddaughter.

"I wanted to bring my granddaughter so that she can appreciate what life really is -- good and bad," Dysert said. "We came to see what everyone has done here. I never dreamed that this would happen in our small town."

(Reporting by Kim Palmer; Editing by David Bailey)