Ohio teenager accused of school shooting to pursue insanity defense

CHARDON, Ohio Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:33pm EDT

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CHARDON, Ohio (Reuters) - Lawyers for an Ohio teenager charged as an adult in a school shooting rampage near Cleveland that killed three students told a judge on Monday they plan to change his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity, but are waiting for more test results.

T.J. Lane, 17, has already pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. Lane, who remains in jail on $1 million bond, is also asking for a change of venue. The new plea would add the justification of insanity.

In June, a grand jury indicted Lane as an adult on six charges of aggravated murder, attempted murder and felonious assault. Lane was arrested shortly after the shootings in the Chardon High School cafeteria on February 27.

The defense is waiting for an MRI and more neurological evaluations of Lane, they told Geauga County Judge David L. Fuhry. They are looking for possible lesions and other defects in the brain.

Defense attorneys noted that Lane has visual and auditory hallucinations brought on by light, sound and stress, as well as chronic migraines.

Geauga County prosecutor David Joyce said there was no history of these problem. He offered November 12 as a possible trial date, which the judge said he would consider.

Defense attorneys for Lane also have filed a motion with the court that getting an impartial jury would be impossible in Geauga County, where Chardon is the county seat.

"Media reports have been so continuous and extensive and the subject so deeply disturbing that empanelment of a truthfully fair and impartial jury drawn from Geauga County will be impossible," according to a defense motion.

The deadline for Lane to change his plea is October 1.

(Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Vicki Allen)

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