(Reuters) - An Ohio judge on Monday rejected a request to release any existing social service agency or juvenile court documents related to T.J. Lane, the 17-year-old accused of going on a deadly shooting rampage at Chardon High School late last month.
Several news organizations had petitioned Judge Timothy Grendell of Geauga County Juvenile Court to release the records, if they exist.
In his ruling, Judge Grendell would not even confirm that any prior records on Lane are in the court's possession. But he said that if they did exist and were released, it could make it more difficult to seat an impartial jury should the teen ultimately be tried as an adult.
So far, Lane has been charged as a juvenile with three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of aggravated attempted murder and one count of felonious assault.
His next scheduled court hearing is next month, when Judge Grendell will determine whether Lane should be tried as an adult.
Under Ohio law, if prosecutors can show probable cause that Lane committed the crimes he is charged with, his case will automatically move to adult court.
The February 27 attack inside the high school's cafeteria left three students dead and two wounded. It was the deadliest U.S. high school shooting in six years.
If convicted, Lane could face up to life in prison without parole.
(Reporting by Kim Palmer; Editing by James B. Kelleher)