TJ Lane (Source: Lorain County Correctional Institution)
GEAUGA COUNTY, OH (WOIO) -
When TJ Lane pulled the trigger killing three in Chardon High School he was 17 years old.
The issue at hand is, should his age have been what they call a mitigating factor when the judge handed down his three life sentences with no chance of parole.
A mitigating factor is any information, like age, that must be considered, which might reduce charges or give a lesser sentence.
Today in the 11th District Court of Appeals, without Lane present, his attorney tried to say the judge did not openly say in court that he considered Lane's age in the sentence.
From the very beginning, Attorney Partlow made it clear that the hearing was not about getting Lane off, but about finding what sanction is appropriate.
The Ohio Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that judges must specifically discuss a youth's age in court when sentencing a teenager to life in prison without parole.
"Before you didn't necessarily have to consider youth, you could consider it. And not only that, you certainly didn't have to consider it a mitigating factor. The Ohio Supreme Court has now said youth is a mitigating factor period," says Attorney Michael Partlow.
Geauga County Prosecutor Jim Flaiz argued that just because the judge didn't say out loud in court that he considered Lane's age as a mitigating factor doesn't mean it wasn't considered at all.
"He looked at all of the psychological evidence and frankly the defendants actions. He planned out this killing. It was very premeditated. He went into the school he methodically shots his victims. And when the judge looked at all that evidence all of that far outweighed the defendant's age," explains Flaiz.
Prosecutors argue the legislature makes it very clear -- at 17 if you commit aggravated murder, you are going to be tried in adult court.
Lane is serving three life prison sentences for the shooting deaths of three students in February of 2012.
17-year old Russell King, Jr., 16-year-old Daniel Parmertor and 16-year-old Demetrius Hewlin were killed in the shooting. 17-year-old Nick Walczak remains paralyzed from the waist down. 18-year-old Joy Rickers and a 6th, unidentified victim were treated and released from the hospital.