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CHARLESTON -- Admitting to a charge in the wake of the Sept. 20, 2017, shooting at Mattoon High School has led to now-15-year-old Josiah Lyons being sentenced on Thursday to serving time in an Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice facility.

During Thursday's court hearing, a sentence to a juvenile justice facility was imposed that cannot go past his 21st birthday. If Lyons commits another crime or violates terms of his juvenile sentence, he could be sentenced to serve up to 25 years in an adult prison.

This dual sentencing approach was taken because the case's judge made an adult sentence possible if Lyons commits another crime or violates terms of his juvenile sentence.

As the JG-TC previously reported, in August, Lyons admitted to a juvenile court petition, the equivalent of a guilty plea, to the charge against him in connection with the shooting in the MHS cafeteria.

State's Attorney Brian Bower had said he planned to ask for a change to the charge against Lyons that would make the adult prison sentence 15 to 60 years.

Mental health treatment has been the center of defense attorney Ed Piraino's efforts since nearly the beginning of the case.

Piraino has been trying to find a facility to treat Lyons for diagnosed disorders, arguing that's needed to address his condition and help prevent future crimes.

A psychiatrist, Lawrence Jeckel, examined Lyons as part of the court proceedings. During testimony at a hearing in February, Jeckel said he diagnosed a defiance disorder and other conditions.

Court case gave some insight on what was behind Mattoon High School shooting

He said Lyons' actions were partly because of "perceived bullying" but he also acted as a bully himself.

Also according to Jeckel's account, the shooting was because Lyons fought or quarreled with a fellow student, reaching a point that he decided he wanted to "shoot her in the head."

He took a handgun from his home to the school but, when he couldn't find the other student, he decided to "go down shooting," Jeckel said.

MHS teacher Angela McQueen began to subdue Lyons at nearly the same time as he fired the gun and the shot hit and injured another student, according to accounts.

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Contact Dave Fopay at (217) 238-6858. Follow him on Twitter: @FopayDave


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