Recently in the courtroom of Geauga County Common Pleas Judge David Fury, T. J. Lane entered for sentencing. He is the shooter responsible for the deaths of three students at Chardon High School.
On his t-shirt, in large letters, was printed the word "Killer", apparently written with a black magic marker on his white t-shirt. Very easy to see. He was in that courtroom the whole time, with the word "Killer" on his shirt, plainly visible for everyone to see, including all of the victim's families. He wore the shirt with pride and at one point even gave the "finger" to the victim's families with a defiant smirk on his face, showing no remorse whatsoever.
The victim's families had to be angered and humiliated by this. The rest of the people there had to be shocked and angered.
What was even more surprising was that NO ONE said or did anything about Lane's shirt.... not Judge Fury.... not Sheriff Dan McClelland.... NO ONE.
The blogs went crazy with comments from outraged people after that. Well known radio talk show host Mike Trivisonno went ballistic about this for 2 or 3 days on his show. I understand he even called Geauga Sheriff Dan McClelland for an explanation. Both the Sheriff and Judge Fury claimed they did not see the printing on the T-shirt. Trivisonno and many others do not believe the Sheriff nor the Judge.
I did not write about this right away as I wanted some time to really think about it.
Upon viewing the video clip of the scene in the courtroom, I could see the printing on Lane's t-shirt plain as day. Lane was facing Judge Fury the whole time. He was led by Sheriff's Deputies from his cell to the courtroom, which was filled with more Deputies. Lane's attorney, sitting right next to him, had to see his shirt.
I have tried hard, in my mind, to give the Sheriff and the Judge the benefit of the doubt because I know their jobs are not easy and they try hard to do right..... but in this case I will have to agree with Trivisonno.
I personally don't see how anyone could have missed Lane's t-shirt. It is impossible to stop anyone from giving the "finger" in court or anywhere else, but someone should have made Lane remove the t-shirt and change into something else.
I do not believe for a minute that Sheriff McClelland or Judge Fury did this purposely. My guess is that upon seeing the word "Killer" printed on Lane's shirt, they were both frozen with shock and disbelief at the evilness of this, not knowing what to do, like a deer caught in the headlights. Don't forget, for years Geauga has been a quiet bedroom community, not used to horrible things like this happening here.
If that is true, I think it would have been much better to have been honest with the people and admit to being frozen with shock, not knowing what to do, and apologize. People would have been much more forgiving, forgetting, and have a much easier time digesting THIS instead of "WE DIDN'T SEE IT". Maybe they didn't want to look weak by admitting to being frozen with shock. They wouldn't have looked weak to me.... just the opposite.... it would have shown strength.... they are only human.
This whole thing is unfortunate because I think it has humiliated and hurt the families more, and the reputations of the Sheriff and Judge.