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Competency hearing set for Ohio school shooting suspect

By Kim Palmer

CHARDON, Ohio (Reuters) - A teenager who confessed to a shooting rampage that killed three students at a small-town Ohio high school in February must face a hearing on May 2 into his competency to face trial, a judge said on Monday.

T.J. Lane, 17, has been charged as a juvenile in the February 27 attack in the Chardon High School cafeteria, the deadliest shooting at a U.S. elementary or high school since a gunman killed five girls and wounded six in 2006 at an Amish school in Pennsylvania.

Under Ohio law, Lane faces a mandatory transfer to adult court because of his age and the seriousness of the charges against him for the shooting 35 miles east of Cleveland.

On Monday, Judge Timothy Grendell scheduled a hearing for May 12 to determine if Lane should be tried as an adult, as well as the competency hearing on May 2. Lane, who wore a light blue button-down shirt in a 30-minute appearance before Grendell on Monday, confessed shortly after the shooting to bringing a .22-caliber pistol and a knife to the high school and randomly firing 10 shots at fellow students before a teacher chased him from the school building.

Daniel Parmertor, 16, Demetrius Hewlin, 17, and Russell King Jr., 17 died. Nick Walczak, 17, was shot more than four times and is now at a rehabilitation center. An 18-year-old young woman was treated at a local hospital for a gunshot wound and released. Walczak returned recently to Chardon High School in a wheelchair for the first time since the shooting. Doctors cannot say whether he will ever be able to walk without assistance. The court received a competency report under seal on April 4 from Dr. Phil Resnick, director of forensic psychiatry at University Hospital Case Medical Center, Grendell said. Defense attorneys are allowed to request another report.

Grendell has placed a gag order on the case restricting comments by defense attorneys and prosecutors.

(Reporting by Kim Palmer; Editing by David Bailey and Peter Cooney)

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