Townville Shooting Hearing: Doctors recommend adult trial for suspect


ANDERSON COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – The hearing for the alleged shooter in the 2016 Townville Elementary School shooting continued Thursday with testimonies discussing google searches of mass shootings by the suspect weeks ahead of the tragedy.

A judge will soon decide if the teen accused in the shooting will be tried as an adult or if the case will stay in family court.

Words like “Columbine, ” “kill” and “Townville” were all keywords searched on the alleged shooter’s phone, according to data pulled by forensics investigators, hoping to shed some light on the question of why.

“When you say why, why what? Why the shooting took place? What may have instigated it?” Det. McKindra Bibb said. “What brought it to a head?”

Bibb was the fifteenth witness the state called to the stand in the hearing.

Her role was to analyze the data recovered from the suspect’s phone.

In the videos were pieces of “Zero Hour,” a documentary depicting what happened at Columbine.

Bibb also found searches on where mass shooters buy their weapons, as well as how to open a gun safe.

“Trying to determine his mental sanity and his maturity.”

Adding to this is Dr. David Wagner who conducted a number of test on the suspect.

Wagner testified that there was nothing to cognitively be concerned about in respect to the alleged shooter.

“He just appeared normal emotionally,” Wagner said. “He wasn’t distraught or tearful or otherwise unusual.”

When it came to what the doctor recommended, he testified that the suspect should be tried as an adult.

“He said he would do it again,” Wagner said. “He said if he doesn’t get fixed, he would commit the crime again and he frequently enjoys thinking about killing other people.”

“I think that presents serious threat to the community,” Wagner said.

Another psychiatrist testified that the suspect told him that he loves to shoot at dogs and torture animals, and uses the word “fun,” according to the doctor.

The doctor said there have been times in court that the accused shooter “can’t help himself from laughing.”

The teen suspect would reportedly laugh when Jacob Hall’s autopsy results were discussed, the doctor testified on Thursday.

According to the doctor, the suspect wanted to be famous, “the best shooter ever,” and wanted to be “worshipped for a long time.”

“To plan to kill people is fun,” is a repeated statement the doctor testified that the suspect has said.

According to the doctor, the suspect told him tat he did Jacob Hall a favor by killing him.

A witness testified that the suspect said he only deserves one day in prison.

Google searches conducted by the suspect included what charges were for driving without a license.

The state asked the doctor if the suspect researched the legal consequences of his actions before he took them and the doctor responded, “absolutely.”

A second psychiatrist testified on Thursday that they recommended the suspects cases be waived up to adult court for the safety of the public.

The doctor told the court that there is no medicine to treat the suspect, and said he needs a controlled and secure setting.

Dr. James Ballenger, the doctor who also examined Dylann Roof — the suspect of the 2015 Charleston church shooting — also took the stand on Thursday.

Ballenger testified saying the suspect has no feelings for the killing at the school or parents, which indicates to him “that he doesn’t really care about what happened at the school…except that he failed.”

The doctor said the shooter’s goal to kill in masses does not seem to have changed since he’s been locked up, noting that the teen has showed no signs of remorse.

Ballenger testifed that youthful offenders don’t normally reoffend, but a small group does fall in the high risk category, which is where he said this suspect falls.

“He cares more about his image than his punishment,” the doctor testified.

State: “You said he made mocking comments of the victims and families in this case to you and to other examiners?”

Ballenger: “Terribly mocking. But the kind of things we put in the DSM that people who were injured were pieces of excrement and worthless and don’t deserve to live, did them a favor. His parents turned off the life support to make money.”

State: “He said that about Jacob Hall is that right?”

Ballenger: “Yes I am sorry.”

State: “That’s okay. His parents said he was motivated by money to turn off the life support.”

Ballenger: “Yes.”

State: “And that he did Jacob Hall, the 6-year-old he shot and killed, a favor?”

Ballenger: “A favor and that everybody loves him for it, his parents, his grandparents told him they haven’t found anybody who weren’t supportive of him. But I don’t know if they did that, that’s hearsay.”

Ballenger testified that the teen has absolutely no symptoms of depression.

Ballenger said the juvenile suspect was willing to kill his mother if she got in the way of his plans.

Day 4 of the hearing concluded after more than 12 hours. Court is recessed until 9:30 a.m.

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