CHARLESTON -- A psychiatrist said Thursday that the teen allegedly behind the September shooting at Mattoon High School was motivated in part by "perceived bullying" and targeted a girl with whom he reportedly had fought.
Also Thursday, a judge approved an evaluation by a state agency for the now 15-year-old boy accused of shooting a fellow student at MHS.
However, Josiah J. Lyons will remain in the custody of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice and not be moved to the state Department of Human Services for possible placement in a treatment facility, Circuit Judge Matt Sullivan said.
Also Thursday, the case's prosecutor filed a motion asking that Lyons be eligible for a longer sentence than what's possible for a juvenile offense if he's convicted. A hearing on that motion was scheduled for next month.
On the change of custody issue, defense attorney Ed Piraino based his motion on a psychiatrist's evaluation that showed that Lyons' mental condition doesn't prevent him from facing the charge against him but also that he's a threat to himself and others.
Psychiatrist Lawrence Jeckel testified that his examination of Lyons showed that he suffers from a defiance disorder and other conditions for which he can't be treated at the Juvenile Justice Department.
He said Lyons' actions were partly because of "perceived bullying" but he also acts as a bully himself. Jeckel described other incidents of violence and school discipline problems in addition to the MHS shooting.
Jeckel said he learned from Lyons that a fight with a girl at MHS a week before the Sept. 20 shooting led him to decide to take a gun to school and "shoot her in the head" when he saw her again.
Lyons said after he didn't see the girl in the school's cafeteria as he expected, he decided to "go down shooting," according to Jeckel.
That's when he drew the gun and aimed it another student, only to miss because he was subdued by teacher Angela McQueen, Jeckel said. One student was hit by one shot but has reportedly recovered.
Jeckel said addressing Lyons' conditions could only take place at a secured facility with "intense residential treatment." He said the treatment would likely take four to five years.
He added that the Juvenile Justice Department can't provide the treatment but the Department of Human Services should be able to place Lyons in a proper facility.
During State's Attorney Brian Bower's cross examination, Jeckel also said Lyons made a "conscious decision" to gain access to his father's gun safe, make sure the gun he used was loaded and take it to MHS with plans to shoot the girl.
Jeckel said Lyons needs a confined facility for his treatment. When Bower asked if that meant continued detention, he replied, "very much so."
Piraino urged Sullivan to allow the custody transfer for Lyons to receive the treatment he needs and await a decision on how to handle his criminal case pending his progress.
In response, Bower said "nothing we've heard today" shows what safeguards would be place at a facility at which Lyons could be treated. He argued that continued detention with the Juvenile Justice Department was appropriate while the case is pending.
Sullivan said the Department of Human Services could do "some sort of evaluation" and make a report to the court, but that wouldn't necessarily mean Lyons will be moved from the Juvenile Justice Department facility.
The judge scheduled Lyons' next hearing for March 29, when he said he'll consider Bower's motion asking that Lyons be eligible for a possible adult prison sentence, as well as a juvenile sentence, if he's convicted.
Bower said the sentence in adult prison would be possible if Lyons didn't successfully complete his juvenile sentence. The adult sentence would be voided otherwise, he said.
Lyons is charged with aggravated battery of a firearm and, as a juvenile offense, the maximum sentence would be confinement with the Juvenile Justice Department until he's 21 years old.
For the adult version of the charge, a conviction requires a prison sentence of six to 30 years.