MATTOON — The Mattoon High School student accused of opening fire almost a year ago in the cafeteria has pleaded guilty in juvenile court to aggravated battery with a firearm.
Attorney Ed Piraino of Champaign said his client, 15-year-old Josiah Lyons, admitted to the act Thursday. Judge Matt Sullivan set sentencing for Oct. 11.
Those convicted in juvenile court can be held in detention until age 21, but Piraino said he expects Lyons to be released within four to five months.
If Lyons does not successfully complete his juvenile sentence, Coles County State's Attorney Brian Bower said he can ask the judge to impose the adult sentence, which would mean 30 to 60 years in prison.
"His future is up to him," Bower said.
This month, Piraino appeared on "A Penny For Your Thoughts" on WDWS 1400-AM and said all parties agree that Lyons needs years of mental-health treatment. But Piraino said he's found no facility that will take the teen.
"You can support him for now for a few years and get his mental health solved, or we can be supporting him for the news 50 years in prison," Piraino said on WDWS. "That age, between 14 and 20, they can be changed, they can be cured, they can be helped, because their brain is still developing."
"Mental-health treatment would be an appropriate part of a sentence," Bower said Thursday. "But not in in lieu of" a prison sentence.
Bower said on Sep. 20, 2017, Lyons shot a student, who was not the planned target, in the high school cafeteria before being subdued by a teacher. The victim has recovered.