Jesse Osborne Townville Elementary School Shooting

Jesse Osborne was a fourteen year old teen killer who was responsible for the 2016 Townville Elementary School Shooting

According to court documents Jesse Osborne would shoot and kill his father Jeffrey Osborne before driving to the Townville Elementary School where he would open fire striking three students and a teacher. One of the students who was shot was six year old Jacob Hall who would die from his injuries three days later

Jesse Osborne would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole however it was later reduced to two seventy year sentences

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Lieber Correctional Institution

Projected Release Date: 08/20/2094

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Jesse Osborne Case

A South Carolina school shooter who was sentenced to life in prison for killing a first-grader on a playground at age 14 is asking the court for mercy and a chance to be released when he is in his 50s or 60s.

Jesse Osborne shot and killed Jacob Hall at Townville Elementary School in 2016, and injured two other students and a teacher. Before opening fire at the Townville, S.C., school, he had also killed his father. Osborne was charged as an adult, and after pleading guilty to the crimes, he was sentenced in 2019 to life in prison without the possibility of parole for murdering his father and the boy. He also was given 30 years for attempted murder, which runs consecutively with the murder stint.

On Monday, Frank Eppes, Osborne’s attorney, requested that South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Lawton McIntosh reconsider Osborne’s total sentencing to between 40 and 55 years. Arguing that the judge did not consider a psychologist’s report that Osborne engaged in the shooting because of abuse and that he could be rehabilitated, Eppes urged McIntosh to “give Jesse some hope to live with,” according to the Associated Press.

As the attorney made the request in Anderson County court, Osborne apologized to Jacob’s family and others affected by the 2016 shooting.

“I know at this point it’s going to seem hollow, and I’m not saying this to get a lesser sentence, I would just like to say sorry to my family for everything I’ve done, sorry to the Hall family for everything and sorry to every kid that was at that playground that day, every student at that school that day, every teacher at that school that day,” Osborne said, according to WYFF, an NBC affiliate in Greenville, S.C. “I would just like to say sorry to every single one of them.”

But several witnesses of the shooting said Monday that Osborne should remain in prison for the rest of his life.

Among them was Meghan Hollingsworth, a teacher injured in the shooting who said she is filled with anxiety during every recess.

“We teach our children that there are consequences for our choices and behaviors,” Hollingsworth said, according to WSPA, a CBS affiliate in Spartanburg, S.C. “Knowing that Jesse was behind bars and would be for life was a small comfort for the children that he would not be able to try and hurt them or their classmates again.”

Eppes told The Washington Post that while he “made the points I wanted to make,” the attorney was not sure whether the sentence would ultimately be reduced.

“As a lawyer, you learn to mistrust how you feel about anything,” he said.

While it’s rare for a school shooter sentenced to life in prison be granted a chance at release or leniency in their time incarcerated, the issue has come up more in recent years.

Last year, Michael Carneal was given the possibility of parole 25 years after the 1997 shooting in West Paducah, Ky., that killed three of his high school classmates and wounded five others. Carneal was denied parole in September. Attorneys for Kip Kinkel, who murdered his parents, killed two students and wounded 25 others in a 1998 high school shooting in Springfield, Ore., petitioned the Oregon Supreme Court for a “murder review hearing.” If one is granted to review Kinkel’s mental health at the time, it could affect how long he remains in prison, USA Today reported.

In South Carolina, Jesse Osborne was being home-schooled after he was expelled from West Oak Middle School for bringing a hatchet to class in early 2016, The Post reported. Ryan Brock, the teen’s older half brother, later testified that Osborne faced repeated physical abuse from Jeffrey Osborne, 47, Jesse Osborne’s father.

On Sept. 28, 2016, Jesse Osborne found the .40-caliber pistol his father kept at his bedside and killed him as he slept in his recliner. Osborne later confessed that after he said goodbye to his pets, he stole his father’s truck and drove it to his former elementary school. The boy had called his grandparents at 1:44 p.m., but his grandmother told authorities that they could not understand him through his crying.

When he arrived at Townville Elementary School, Osborne smashed the truck into a fence and fired at people for about 12 seconds, The Post reported. His gun jammed before police arrived and arrested him.

After he was detained, Jesse Osborne told his grandmother that he was worried about going to hell for what he had done.

Among those shot was Jacob, 6. A bullet struck his leg, leading to significant blood loss and cardiac arrest. Jacob underwent surgery but died three days later.

Two other students and Hollingsworth were injured.

After the judge ruled that Jesse Osborne would be tried as an adult, the teen pleaded guilty in December 2018 to two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder. During the sentencing hearing, investigators found that Osborne had been researching other school shooters for months and, determined to outdo them. “I think ill probably most likely kill around 50 or 60,” he said in an Instagram group chat before the shooting. “If I get lucky maybe 150.”

He was sentenced to life in prison without parole in November 2019. Before he was sentenced, Renae Hall, Jacob’s mother, said she had forgiven Osborne for murdering her son.

“The Bible says that we have to forgive those who have sinned against us and that’s what I’ve done,” she told WCSC, a CBS affiliate in Charleston, in 2019. “I am able to forgive … because I need to be forgiven.” She added, “For Jacob, justice has been served.”

Eppes told The Post that the motion to reduce the length of Osborne’s sentence had been delayed due to the pandemic. He argued at Monday’s hearing that Osborne has shown good behavior behind bars and that his client “was not capable of understanding what he was doing” at age 14. The defense attorney noted that Osborne’s life sentence prohibits him from taking part in several programs with the state’s Corrections Department.

“Give him a chance to better himself as much as possible,” Eppes said, according to WSPA.

The judge did not make a final decision on a reduced sentencing during the hearing, but he gave Osborne’s defense team 30 days to provide a supplemental report. Prosecutors will have 10 days to respond to the report, the AP reported.

Witnesses at Monday’s hearing were emphatic that Jesse Osborne should remain in prison, the AP reported. Prosecutors said that although Hall’s family members did not speak in court, they hope Osborne stays locked up for what he did. Jeff Bernard, a father of a student who was celebrating his birthday when the shooting unfolded, told the court that his son “hates his birthday.”

Principal Denise Fredericks said that while she wishes Osborne has “a life where he can wake up, breathe, eat, work, be productive,” it should not be done outside prison walls.

“His current sentence is still so, so much more merciful than the sentence he gave to Jacob and our school family,” she said.

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