Chardon: TJ Lane surrendering at his sentencing

10:53 PM, Mar 18, 2013   |    comments
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CHARDON -- Here's a unique perspective on the Chardon High School shooting as confessed gunman TJ Lane is expected to be sentenced Tuesday.

Last month, Lane pleaded guilty to killing three students and injuring three others.

He asked that his lawyers not speak for him, so how will that affect victims' families and the defendant's sentence?

When TJ Lane goes before Judge David Fuhry for sentencing Tuesday, he'll go without legal assistance, without saying a word, not even an apology to the families.

Those are the defendant's wishes, even though he could face the rest of his life in prison.

While Lane can't get the death penalty, some would say it is the equivalent of a death row inmate refusing appeals.

Such prisoners are called "volunteers."

We explore this concept with reknowned forensic psychiatrist Dr. Phillip Resnick.

"Sometimes, someone is so depressed, it's almost like they can't get enough punishment," Resnick said.

Resnick, a forensic psychiatrist, did the psychological evaluation of TJ Lane for the juvenile court proceedings. He won't speak specifically about those results, but can teach us a lot about the mind of a killer.

"Some persons who commit mass murder actually expect to die and they may want to die," Resnick said.

In fact, 50 percent kill themselves. If that was Lane's intention, he didn't follow through. Only Channel 3 cameras were rolling when the teenager peaceably surrendered to a sheriff's deputy.

"If they happen to survive, it's more by a fluke then intention," Resnick said.

Resnick was special consultant on the Unabomber case. Ted Kaczynski had a genius IQ but felt rejected by society.

"They feel justified the way society has treated them and they, therefore, feel that some attack on society is justified," Resnick said.

Lane was diagnosed with migraines and auditory and visual halucinations. That was later contradicted by a second competency exam.

Resnick says identifying rampage killers before they attack is impossible. The Virginia Tech gunman was receiving psychological treatment before the shooting.

"There isn't something so specific you can say this person has a one chance in two of becoming a killer," Dr. Resnick said.

If Lane stays silent at sentencing, victims' families may never know why he did it. Refusing to help himself will likely lead to the maximum sentence.

Lane's attorney Ian Friedman says there will be a short conference in the judge's chambers, then sentencing will begin.

The teenager faces a minimum of 26 years to life in prison. The maximum is life in prison without parole.


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