South Carolina school shooter Jesse Osborne who killed dad and 6-year-old gets life imprisonment without parole
Teen school shooter, who killed two people including his father and a six-year-old child at Townville Elementary School in California, has been sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The now 17-year-old Jesse Osborne was 14 at the time of the slayings in September 2016.
Jesse shot his father Jeffrey Osborne thrice before stealing his truck and driving to the playground at Townville Elementary School while a first-grade class student was celebrating a birthday party. Six-year-old Jacob Hall was shot in the leg and died three days later. Jesse also injured another student and a teacher.
The court heard that Jesse had an abusive environment at home, and his father would get belligerently drunk and beat him. He also suffered abuse at school in the months leading up to the attack, said his grandfather Tommy Osborne. He added that the teenager was bullied at school and was called "Little Jessie" because he was small.
A year before he went on a shooting spree, Jesse had been expelled from West Oak Middle School for bringing a machete and knife to school. His grandfather claimed that he had wanted to defend an autistic student who was being bullied. He would isolate himself after the incident in the basement and would spend more than 12 hours by himself.
According to him, Jesse's father had been upset that his son wasn't as athletic as he wanted him to be. The teen's father, Jeffrey, lived a clean life, but when he got drunk in the evenings he was violent, said Tommy. He described an incident when Jesse's grandparents took him on a trip and discovered bruises on him. At the time, Jesse had said that his father had "beat him with a bat". Jesse's brother Ryan also said his father often used a belt on him.
Prosecutors, however, painted a different story.
They presented around 1,000 pages of Instagram and Skype messages that showed an online group called Project Rainbow, where members studied school shootings in the past and pushed each other to carry out one. They had discussed which would be a better hit - an elementary school or a middle school and had settled on the former because of the lack of police officers on campus. There was also a video from three hours before the shooting where he is combing his hair and saying, "got to have your hair straight when you’re going to shoot up a place. Got to look fabulous."
After stealing his father's truck, he crashed into the fence of Townville Elementary School before he started shooting. He is said to have been on a Skype call as he did with the members of the group. “I can’t stop hearing gunshots and the kids screaming and Jesse screaming. I’m freaking out,” one girl typed into the Skype chat according to testimony from Anderson County Sheriff’s detective McKindra Bibb who analyzed the cellphone.
Jesse had also searched for Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Virginia Tech and had a collage of approximately 20 first grade students killed at Sandy Hook, said Bibb. He is also believed to have said on the group "god, if I get over 70 kills, I’ll be satisfied," Bibb testified. One of the videos also showed him firing pellets at dogs.
Authorities also revealed that he had tried to escape from jail. Dr James Ballenger, a psychiatrist for the defense, said he didn't have much hope about Jesse's rehabilitation. Bellenger, who also evaluated Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof, said, "He doesn't feel remorse; he doesn't feel guilt."
He also told the court that Jesse had told him he pulled wings off crickets so they were helpless when ants attacked and would throw frogs on cement.