ANDERSON, SC (FOX Carolina) - The teen accused in the deadly shooting at Townville Elementary School appeared in court Wednesday to plead guilty to all five charges against him.
Jesse Osborne, now 16 and in the 11th grade, was indicted on two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder after the events that unfolded on Sep. 28, 2016. On that day, Osborne shot and killed his father, Jeffrey Osborne, before driving to the school and opening fire. Jacob Hall, 6, was wounded in the shooting and died three days later. Two other students and a teacher were wounded by the gunfire. The teen used the same .40 caliber handguns in both shootings.
During Wednesday's hearing, Osborne confirmed to the judge that he wished to plead guilty to all five indictments. Osborne confirmed he was waiving his right to a trial and waiving the state's burden of proof. Osborne also confirmed he was happy with the services that his lawyer had provided.
Osborne answered all of the judge's questions with a simple "yes sir" and did not appear shaken during the proceedings.
Both Osborne's lawyer, Frank Eppes, and a doctor were present and testified that Osborne was competent and understood that he knew what was doing. Eppes said the guilty plea was in Osborne's best interest.
The judge said a sentence will be issued at a later date. The judge said he will consider several factors, including Osborne's age, before issuing the sentence.
Osborne faces a minimum of 30 years in prison on each murder count and a maximum of life in prison without parole.
Osborne had initially pleaded not guilty during an arraignment hearing back in September.
Eppes stated after the hearing that Osborne was now remorseful for the crimes and understood that he would have to pay for those crimes. He said the teen was happy to have the hearing behind him and that was doing well in his regimented life behind bars.
Solicitor David Wagner said his office was also happy with the outcome of the hearing. He said the case would be compliant with Aiken v. Byars, a case which set precedent for dealing with life sentences and juvenile offenders.
Wagner said Osborne must have another hearing to allow the court to determine the "mitigating circumstances of youth" before a sentence is handed down.
Wagner issued a statement describing five "mitigating qualities of youth" that the hearing must consider:
- The chronological age of the offender and the “hallmark features of youth”, including immaturity, impetuosity, and failure to appreciate the risks and consequence of conduct;
- The family and home life/environment of the offender;
- The circumstances of the homicide offense, including the offender's participation or role and how “familial and peer pressures” may have affected him;
- The “incompetencies associated with youth,” such as the offender's inability to deal with police officers or prosecutors or assist his own attorneys; and
- The the possibility of rehabilitation.
“The State will not be entering into any plea deals with Jesse Osborne," Wagner said in the statement after the hearing. "I am seeking the maximum sentence in this case, life without parole, which is the appropriate sentence for the murder of six-year-old Jacob Hall, and the attempted murders of his classmates and teachers.”
Jesse Osborne, the suspect in a deadly shooting at Townville Elementary School in 2016, is expected to appear in court on Thursday.
A court determined on Friday that 15-year-old Jesse Osborne will be tried as an adult on charges stemming from the deadly shooting at Townville Elementary School in 2016.
Day 4 of trial was marked with heavy statements as hearings continued to determine if the suspect accused of shooting his father to death and opening fire on Townville Elementary School students when he was 14-years-old, should be tried as an adult.