Townville Elem. School shooter sentenced to life in prison without parole

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ANDERSON Co., SC (WSPA) – Townville Elementary School shooter Jesse Osborne was sentenced to life in prison without parole Thursday afternoon for the murders of Jeffrey Osborne and Jacob Hall.

Osborne also received 30 years on the attempted murder charges, which included teacher Megan Hollingsworth and two unnamed juvenile students.

Prior to the decision, Osborne addressed the judge with tears in his eyes.

“I just ask that you give me hope for a future and get me help because I do need help,” Osborne said.

The solicitor told 7News that he was pleased with the decision because he believes Osborne will only become more dangerous.

As for the defense, Defense Attorney Frank Eppes said it was not the outcome they were looking for, but would not tell 7News what they had wanted.

“We plan to file an appeal within the next 10 days,” Eppes said.

Testimony concluded in Osborne’s sentencing hearing Thursday.

Osborne, now 17, pleaded guilty to two counts of murder for his father’s death and 6-year-old Jacob Hall in December of 2018, which led to this week’s hearing.

The state finished their witness list on Wednesday and the defense started to call their witnesses.On Thursday, Jesse Osborne’s grandfather, Tommy Osborne, was the first witness called to the scene.

Tommy Osborne is also the father of Jeffrey Osborne, who was fatally shot by Jesse Osborne in 2016. He told the courtroom that his son raised chickens on their property and said he was a great father when he was not drinking.

The defense asked numerous questions about what Tommy Osborne knew about the alleged abuse inside the Osborne household prior to the 2016 shooting.

“You felt that you needed to carry a pistol for protection? Your own son who lives on your property?” Rame Campbell, an attorney on the defense team, said.

“Yes,” Tommy Osborne replied.

Tommy Osborne said that Jesse Osborne was isolated and had no social interaction with people outside his family after being expelled from West Oak Middle School.

“After he was expelled, he wasn’t the same child anymore,” he said.

When it came to testimony regarding Sept. 28, 2016, Tommy Osborne broke down in tears on the stand.

He said that his wife, Patsy, received a call from Jesse Osborne and he was screaming, so they got in their truck to drive down to the house.

Tommy Osborne took a long pause before telling the court that upon entering the house he could see Jeff Osborne on the couch and looked at him before telling his wife they needed to call 911.

Then he said his phone rang and Jesse Osborne was crying stating he was at Townville Elementary School.

Tommy Osborne testified that he told Jesse Osborne to stay where he was and said he would come get him.

“When I pulled up, the cops surrounded me and they already had him in the back of the school,” he said.

The second witness called by the defense was Dr. Donna Maddox who has studied Jesse Osborne and this case since October 2016.

The majority of her testimony was describing what she learned about the Osborne household and Osborne’s history of abuse over the years.

“This family is broken from the top to the bottom, and has only gotten worse,” Maddox said.

Maddox described the situation at Townville Elementary School as a pre-planned event, but that it happened sooner than Osborne had planned.

“If he had really done his research, he would have done it at 13,” Maddox said.

According to Maddox, if Osborne was 13 at the time he would not have been waived up to adult court because the law wouldn’t allow it.

Osborne had turned 14 just 26 days prior to the shooting.

“You can’t look at the school shooting without looking at what was happening with him and his father,” Maddox said.

Much of her research dives into the bullying and domestic violence issues tying them back to his maturity level at the time and how he was viewing the situation to end the problems.

The defense did not present a witness list so it’s not clear how much longer the hearing will continue.

At the end, the judge will make a decision on how much time Osborne will serve in prison.  At minimum, he’s facing 35 years with the new charges of attempting to escape.

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