ANDERSON, S.C. — A teen accused of killing his father and then opening fire at the playground where he went to elementary school will be tried as an adult, an Anderson County judge has decided.
Jesse Osborne, now 15, of Townville, S.C., was one of two juveniles accused in school shootings who learned Friday they will face charges in adult court. The other is Gabriel Ross Parker, 15, of Hardin, Ky., accused of killing two and injuring more than a dozen others in January in a shooting at Marshall County High School in Benton, Ky.
Nikolas Cruz, the teen accused in Wednesday's school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 and wounded at least 14, is age 19 and faces 17 counts of premeditated murder in 17th Judicial Circuit Court in Fort Lauderdale.
Osborne faces two charges of murder, three charges of attempted murder and five counts of possessing a weapon during a violent crime in the Sept. 28, 2016, shooting on the Townville Elementary School playground where 6-year-old Jacob Hall was struck. He was 14 at the time.
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Townville, with a population of about 5,000, is about 100 miles northeast of Atlanta and 110 miles northwest of Columbia, S.C., in the Appalachians.
"The evil and premeditated planning, which has been revealed this week through witness testimony, clearly demonstrates that Osborne ... is a cold and calculated killer," Jacob's parents, Renae and Rodger Hall, said in a statement released through the lawyer who represents their son's estate. "May God have mercy on his soul."
The South Carolina youth faces at least 30 years in prison and could be kept behind bars for the rest of his life, said David Wagner, the 10th Judicial Circuit solicitor. If Osborne's case had been kept and tried in 10th Circuit Family Court rather than General Sessions Court, he would have faced a much lighter sentence and could have been released when he turned 21.
First-grader Hall, 6, died three days after being shot in the leg. Jeffrey Osborne, 47, was killed on his rural five-acre poultry farm near Townville that also was the family's home before the gunfire at Townville Elementary.
Family Court Judge Edgar Long looked at Jesse Osborne's previous criminal record that included bringing a machete and a hatchet to a middle school in neighboring Oconee County less than a year before the Townville shooting.
Jesse Osborne told Julian Sharman, a clinical psychologist who saw him after the machete incident, that he had planned to "kill all the bullies," at West-Oak Middle School in Westminster, S.C., according to testimony.
Weighing all those factors and others, Long concluded his ruling on Jesse Osborne's fate with this: "All the customary protections afforded a juvenile are hereby extinguished." The teen, who has been housed in the Greenville County Juvenile Detention Center, likely will remain in that facility for the near future rather than be transferred to an adult jail to await trial.
Records and testimony in the waiver hearing showed that Jesse Osborne had plotted the school shooting for months and had refined his plan in the days prior. Instagram messages from an account attributed to Jesse Osborne show he had studied law-enforcement response times and that he told those he was messaging he would drive to a school "four minutes away" from his home.
Jesse Osborne also had Googled "youngest mass murderer" and and searched for information on Columbine High School killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, according to juvenile court records, which had been closed to public view before Long's decision. The then-14-year-old met with investigators hours after the shootings and confessed.
The video, in which he told investigators that he would have killed more people at Townville Elementary but his gun jammed, was part of the evidence in last week's family court proceedings.
From 2015 to 2016, three cases involving children were waived up to adult court, according to statistics from the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice.
Frank Eppes of Greenville, S.C., Jesse Osborne's lead lawyer, tried unsuccessfully to get the teen's confession thrown out. He said Jesse Osborne's mother, Tiffney, and lawyer Rame Campbell were both outside nearby before Jesse Osborne confessed, but the teen talked to investigators alone.
"If a parent of a minor asserts his right to a lawyer, law enforcement, I think, has an obligation to honor that request," Eppes said after Friday's ruling.
People on both sides of the Anderson County Courthouse cried as James Ballenger, a forensic psychiatrist who also evaluated Charleston mass-killer Dylann Roof, testified about Jesse Osborne's "indifference to his victims." Ballenger indicated that Jesse Osborne said he did Jacob "a favor" by mortally wounding him.
Ballenger, who was in court all week, testified that he watched Jesse Osborne smile as disturbing details of his case were discussed "then try to hide it."
Follow Nikie Mayo on Twitter: @NikieMayo