By Kim Palmer
CLEVELAND (Reuters) - An attorney for the Ohio teen charged in the shooting deaths of three high school students in the town of Chardon said on Saturday he is negotiating with prosecutors to settle the case as the first anniversary of the attack approaches.
It was not immediately clear if accused shooter T.J. Lane would plead guilty to the aggravated murder of three students in the February 27, 2012, attack in the Chardon High School cafeteria, where three others were wounded.
"We're in the process of plea negotiations," said Lane's attorney, Ian Friedman, adding that his client will first undergo a court-ordered competency evaluation.
"Assuming it is completed timely and finds T.J. competent, a plea may be entered as soon as February 26, which is our next court date," Friedman added.
Lane, who was 17 at the time of the shooting, is being tried as an adult, and has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
He is scheduled to go on trial later this year for three counts of aggravated murder in the deaths of Demetrius Hewlin, 16; Russell King Jr., 17; and Daniel Parmertor, 16. He is charged with the attempted murder of Nick Walczak, 18, who was paralyzed from the waist down, and felony assault for wounds to two other students.
Prosecutors said Lane brought a .22-caliber pistol to school and fired 10 rounds randomly at students in the cafeteria.
If a plea deal is reached and announced on February 26, it would be on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the shooting rampage, which will be remembered with a candlelight vigil, a memorial walk and concert in downtown Chardon. Continued...