ANDERSON COUNTY, SC (WYFF) - The 16-year-old suspect in the 2016 shooting at Townville Elementary School has entered guilty pleas on five indictments -- two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder.
Immediately after the shooting on Sept. 28, 2016, Jesse Osborne confessed that he shot and killed his father, Jeffrey Osborne, before he drove to the school and fired at first-graders and teachers. He fatally wounded 6-year-old Jacob Hall, who died three days later. He also shot a teacher and another student who survived.
Osborne appeared in court Wednesday, considerably taller than he was at the time of the shooting. He wore a buttoned-down, checked shirt and a blue vest, with his hair cut much shorter than at the time of the shooting.
Osbourne confirmed to Judge Lawton McIntosh that he has continued high school while in prison and had reached 11th grade.
Osborne was accompanied by his lawyer, Frank Eppes, who assured McIntosh that his client is competent, not under the influence of any illegal substances and fully understands the charges against him and the possible penalties.
Dr. Donna Maddox testified that she had evaluated Osborne 10 times since his arrest, and that she met with him Wednesday. She said Osborne is competent; he understands the guilty plea, has assisted in his defense and understands he faces up to life in prison.
Prosecutors detailed Osborne’s online activity before the shooting, in which he bragged about how many kids he would kill and that he had chosen an elementary school as his target because there would be a chance he could kill more victims.
Eppes objected to much of the information shared as being taken out of context, saying it was not pertinent, and that his client just wants to plead guilty.
Judge Lawton McIntosh asked Osborne numerous questions to be sure that the teenager understands that he faces as much as two life sentences in prison, plus up to 90 additional years.
The sentencing will happen at a later date after Eppes has time for further investigation and to have experts review the case to make any recommendations for why Osborne should not serve a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
Eppes said after the hearing that the evidence is overwhelming, and there was no reason for a trial. He said Osborne has always admitted his guilt and "is glad it's over."
"Still, he's a kid," Eppes said. "He's a child."
- WYFF News 4’s in depth coverage of the shooting, “Chronicle: 23 Seconds in Townville.”
Fast facts on the Townville shooting:
- In September 2016, Jesse Osborne posts various comments on social media about planning a school shooting.
- Sept. 28, 2016, Osborne shoots his father, Jeffrey Osborne, Sept. 28. 2016 as his father sits in a chair facing away from him, police say.
- After he killed his father, Osborne kisses his rabbit, Floppy, and his three dogs, he later says.
- Osborne's grandmother says he then called her, crying and “mumbling unintelligibly.”
- The grandmother later goes to the home where she finds her son, 47-year-old Jeffrey Osborne, dead. He was shot three times.
- After shooting his father, Jesse Osborne drives his father's truck three miles to Townville Elementary School, he says.
- Osborne had attended the school but was attending virtual school at the time of the shooting.
- At 1:45 p.m., Osborne drives a pickup truck through the fence at Townville Elementary, police say.
- Osborne fires a .40-caliber handgun, wounding a teacher and two students, police say.
- One of the students, 6-year-old Jacob Hall, is hit in the leg, causing massive blood loss, doctors say.
- Firefighter Jamie Brock says he heard the call about a shooting at the school, sped to the school and tackled Osborne on the playground.
- Once in custody, Osborne gives police a lengthy confession. (Full transcript of confession)
- Jacob dies three days after the shooting.
- Osborne was first charged as a juvenile with two counts of murder, three charges of attempted murder and five charges of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
- He was later charged as an adult, making a life sentence possible.
- Osborne has been in custody since the shooting.