16-year-old South Carolina boy  pleads guilty in school shooting rampage
Pointing a gun. Image via Shutterstock.

A 16-year-old South Carolina boy pleaded guilty on Wednesday to murder and attempted murder charges stemming from the 2016 slaying of his father and shooting rampage at an elementary school that killed a 6-year-old boy, prosecutors said.


Jesse Osborne, who was 14 at the time of the 2016 attack on Townville Elementary School some 40 miles (65 km) southwest of Greenville, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Prosecutors said they did not make any deals with Osborne and his guilty plea would not reduce the sentence they are were asking a judge to impose.

“I am seeking the maximum sentence in this case, life without parole, which is the appropriate sentence for the murder of six-year-old Jacob Hall, and the attempted murders of his classmates and teachers,” Tenth Judicial Circuit Solicitor David Wagner said in a statement.

An attorney for Osborne could not be reached by Reuters for comment following the plea hearing in Anderson County Circuit Court. Local media reported that during the hearing Osborne’s attorney said that the plea was in his client’s best interest.

Prosecutors say Osborne killed his father Jeffrey Osborne, 47, at their home in Townville before driving to the school in the family’s pick-up truck and crashing it into a fence.

Osborne then began shooting with a handgun on the school playground until he was tackled by a firefighter, who pinned him down until police arrived, according to prosecutors.

Student, Jacob Hall, 6, was shot in the leg and died three days after the attack.

The crime rocked the small South Carolina town and also had national implications.

Jacob’s friend, first-grader Ava Olsen, witnessed the shooting and in a letter last year to U.S. President Donald Trump obtained by the Washington Post and local media, told him she was scared and pleaded with him to keep kids safe from guns. Trump replied it was brave of her to share her story, they said.

Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Harriet McLeod in Charleston, South Carolina; Editing by Lisa Shumaker