Former CHS student charged with second-degree murder

Former Carmel High School student John Lane was charged with second-degree murder, armed criminal action and first-degree burglary on Feb. 3, according to the Kansas City Star.

On Nov. 27 of last year, 83-year-old John Rector was found in his backyard in Pleasant Hill, Missouri, with severe trauma to the back of his head, the Star reports. Rector never regained consciousness and died two weeks later.

Lane, 17, and Mary Couts, 32, have been charged with his murder.

Lane left CHS in the middle of his sophomore year after finishing the fall semester in 2015.

Back in Carmel, the community has generally responded with surprise to the charges. Junior Nick Krueger befriended Lane when the two were in fourth grade. He uses the nickname everyone knew Lane by: Junebug.

“I grew up with Junebug,” Krueger says. “He would stay with me for days at a time. I know he would never do anything like that. No. Absolutely not.”

Lane spent the first few years of his life in Kansas City, Missouri, according to Krueger. When Lane’s father had a stroke, he and his mother moved to California. Lane went back and forth between states until moving there permanently after leaving CHS.

“I sort of thought something might happen,” adds junior Dylan Steiny, a friend of Lane since middle school. “What are you going to do in Kansas City with time on your hands, no school and no guidance?”

Special education teacher Sandra Mettler taught Lane his freshman and sophomore year in English I and Academic Study Hall, and remembers him not as the best student, but as a strong person.

“Some days he was more driven than others,” Mettler says, “but he was pretty much a kid who took care of himself and came to school every day, which is amazing.”

In 2013, the Sandpiper reported that former CHS student Joshua Claypole was arrested for murder and carjacking; Claypole subsequently committed suicide in prison. In Claypole’s case, students and teachers commented that he was a quiet, introverted student, even aggressive. By contrast, Lane is reputed as kind and sociable, a friend to many that knew him.

Junior Grace Heidtke recalls Lane as charming, the kind of person that didn’t talk much about himself but was always kind.

“He was definitely a nice guy,” Heidtke says. “People would think that he wasn’t very bright, but you would see him in some classes and think, ‘Yeah, that kid is definitely a bright guy.’ I remember he would surprise you with what he would say.”

Lane is recalled fondly by his former schoolmates. On the Carmel High campus, the shock to news of Lane’s arrest among the junior class particularly was palpable.

“The one thing he really valued was respect for elderly people,” Steiny notes. “That’s why this is so surprising.”

-Anna Gumberg