Gunman Lane taunts grieving families

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IOL pic mar20 tj lane cleveland gunman Reuters TJ Lane takes off his shirt to reveal a white T-shirt with the word "killer" on the front during his sentencing before Geauga County Judge David Fuhry in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday.

Chicago - An American teenage gunman on Tuesday mocked the grieving families of three students he had killed in a school shooting, during a court hearing that saw him sentenced to life in prison.

TJ Lane showed only contempt as he fidgeted in his seat wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the word “killer” that he had smuggled in under a dress shirt, a courtroom video feed showed.

The 18-year-old then taunted the grieving family members with a vulgar description of how much he still enjoys the memory of killing their sons and ended his brief statement by waving his middle finger at the court.

Judge David Fuhry sentenced him to life with no chance of parole, noting that “remorse is lacking”.

“You can smile all you want,” said Holly Walczak, whose son Nick was paralysed in the shooting. “My family will move on, not you.”

“I want him to suffer the rest of his life, like I will suffer the rest of my life without Danny,” Daniel Parmertor's mother testified, calling Lane a “pathetic excuse for a human”.

Lane had previously pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to killing three students and injuring three others in a shooting at a high school near Cleveland.

He changed his plea on February 26, a day before the one-year anniversary.

Lane bolted from the school after firing 10 shots from a .22-calibre gun he had taken from a relative's home.

He was chased by a teacher before giving himself up to bystanders who alerted police.

A sheriff's deputy found him sitting in a ditch about a kilometre from the school in wet and muddied clothes, including a T-shirt with the word “killer” in large letters across the front.

Lane admitted to what he had done and when the deputy asked why, he said: “I don't know.” He later said he opened fire in the cafeteria completely at random and did not know the students he shot.

As in previous school shootings, the case raised discussion of the gunman's previous behaviour, missed warning signs and lax US gun laws.

Some students described Lane as an “outcast” who had been bullied and said he had posted warnings on Twitter and left disturbing messages on Facebook.

A picture emerged of Lane as a troubled boy who lived with his grandfather after his father - who had a history of domestic violence and had served time in prison - was warned by police to stay away.

A psychiatrist testified last year that Lane suffered from serious mental problems, including depression, hallucinations and psychosis. - Sapa-AFP

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