Should accused Townville shooter be tried as an adult? - FOX Carolina 21

Should accused Townville shooter be tried as an adult?

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Could accused school shooter be tried as adult Could accused school shooter be tried as adult

The accused gunman in the Townville elementary school shootings appeared in family court Friday.

The teen suspect is also charged with murder in the death of his father whose body was found at their family's home on Osborne Road.

The suspect's grandparents were tipped off to the shooting when he called them crying. A few minutes later, they found his father, Jeffrey Osborne, dead on the couch, with the TV still on. He had been shot multiple times, according to the coroner. As they were making that discovery, investigators say the suspect had arrived at Townville Elementary, driving his dad's truck. They say he shot two children and a teacher on the playground before being taken down by a firefighter.

In court today, the judge would not allow cameras to record him. He was wearing a yellow jail jumpsuit with blue handcuffs on and his hair hanging in his face. His mother was there on the front row and could be seen crying throughout the hearing, comforted by a woman sitting with her. The sheriff told us a decision on whether to charge him as an adult will come later.

Many people are wondering if the suspect will ultimately be charged as an adult. He just turned 14, so right now he's charged as a juvenile. But the sheriff's office will work with the solicitor's office to determine what happens with his case.

Former Anderson County Solicitor, Druanne White said there are specific factors outlined by South Carolina law to consider to help a judge determine if a juvenile should be charged as an adult.

"If I'm the prosecutor, and somebody's 14 and charged with murder, what do I do? First, I charge him through a petition, within 30 days after that I've got to give written notice what I want to waive him up to adult court and at that point, a hearing would be scheduled,"  she said.

White said, "The factors are actually set forth in the law, very specific. The judge has got to consider the seriousness of the offense. Whether the offense was committed in an aggressive violent, premeditated or willful manner." 

Adding the judge must consider if the crime was committed against persons or property, if the case is a good case to stand trial, the desirability of the case in its entirety, the background of the juvenile accused, whether the juvenile has prior troubles with police and if being in a juvenile setting would adequately protect society and help rehabilitate him before releasing back into society.

If the teen suspect is tried as a juvenile, he would be released from a juvenile justice facility in seven years. Because of his age, he would not be eligible for the death penalty if convicted, but could serve as much as life in prison.

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