The Leopard

Teen is Charged for Murder of his Father and a Child

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/02/19/accused-south-carolina-school-shooter/351199002/

Photo: Ken Ruinard

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/02/19/accused-south-carolina-school-shooter/351199002/

Kristi Harris, Hard News Editor

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On Monday, February 12, 2018, a waiver hearing was held in Townville, South Carolina for Jesse Osborne, now 15 years-old. This was his second hearing after the  killing of his 47 year-old father, Jeffrey Osborne, and a 6 year-old child, Jacob Hall in 2016.

 

At his first hearing in 2016, Osborne was charged as a juvenile and remained in Juvenile Detention until his waiver hearing.

 

“The judge’s finding in whether to send a case to adult court is referred to as a waiver decision, but it’s essentially a sentencing decision,” said Josh Gupta-Kagan, an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law.

 

In this hearing, Osborne’s recorded statement, where he confessed to the murders, was played to determine whether he was to be tried as an adult or juvenile. His attorney’s wanted Osborne to be tried as a juvenile, so he could get out when he turns 21. Prosecutors wanted him tried as an adult, so he could face prison time, if found guilty.

 

On Wednesday, September 28, 2016, the teen’s father left their house to run errands. When he returned, his son shot him three times. In the recorded statement, Osborne, 14 years-old at the time, said that he was angry with his father for questioning his homework and spending. However, he does not give a direct answer for motive.

 

Osborne left the house in his father’s truck and drove 3 miles to Townville Elementary School playground and opened fire with a pistol. Osborne said in the video that he put the wrong ammunition in the gun before leaving the house. If it hadn’t jammed multiple times, more people would have been injured or killed. Two children and one teacher were shot. The teacher, Meghan Hollingsworth, and one of the children were treated at AnMed Health Medical Center and released the same day. The second child, Jacob Hall, was airlifted to Greenville Memorial Hospital. He underwent surgery for his gunshot wound to the leg and did not survive. He passed away on Saturday October 1, 2016.

 

Hall’s parents gave one statement at the hospital, but declined further interviews. “We appreciate the community’s support, especially the Townville Rescue Squad who treated Jacob onsite and brought him to the hospital,” says Rodger and Renae Hall, “we appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers and ask for privacy during this difficult time.”

 

At some point after leaving his house, Osborne frantically called his grandparents. However, they couldn’t understand him so they went to the Osborne household to check on him, but instead, found Mr. Osborne’s body and called 911.

 

A teacher from inside the Elementary school called 911 at 1:45 p.m. and the officers arrived at the scene within 7 minutes of the call. Osborne never entered the building and was in custody by 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Jamie Brock, veteran volunteer firefighter, confronted the shooter and took him down. Brock likely prevented further victims by his heroic act. “I did what any other firefighter would do,” he said.

 

After the shooting, a mother of a student attending Townville Elementary was interviewed. “Thank God it wasn’t my child, but I feel so bad for the other families,” the mother said, “people need to realize they’re hurting people’s families, it’s not just about you, it’s about everybody.”

 

Osborne’s hearing was held at General Sessions Court and overseen by Family Court Judge Edgar Long. Gupta-Kagan, an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law, said that generally, a waiver hearing includes a variety of information that will weigh in on the judge’s final decision. This information may include evidence about the alleged crime, details of the defendant’s childhood background, and any past mental health evaluations.

 

Judge Long thoroughly examined Osborne’s previous criminal record, which consisted of bringing a machete and hatchet to his middle school less than a year before the shooting. After the machete incident, Osborne started seeing a clinical psychiatrist, Julian Sharman. She gave a statement saying that Osborne had said, “I will kill all the bullies,” in one of their sessions. From recordings and statements from the trial, it is proven that Osborne was planning his shooting for months.

 

Judge Long granted the state’s motion to have Osborne tried as an adult. Osborne was charged with two counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder and five counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. He is facing a minimum sentence of 30 years and a maximum life sentence. There is no chance of Osborne being put on death row because of his age.

 

If a plea deal is discussed for Osborne, there will be consideration of another trial. Osborne will likely return to Greenville County Juvenile Detention Center, the closest facility for inmates his age.

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Teen is Charged for Murder of his Father and a Child