Defense begins for teen in South Carolina school shooting
ANDERSON, S.C. (AP) — A teen accused of killing his father and a first-grader at a South Carolina school seemed sad and sorry shortly after the 2016 shooting, a jail psychiatrist said Friday.
Dr. Ernest Martin of the Greenville County jail testified as the defense began presenting its case why the teen should be tried as a juvenile. He was 14 at the time of the killings. If convicted in juvenile court, the teen could be held no longer than his 21st birthday. Prosecutors in Anderson want him tried as an adult, facing a longer potential sentence.
The Associated Press is not using the teen’s name or that of his father while the boy remains in the juvenile court system.
Martin testified that he treated the boy between Sept. 2016 and Feb. 2017. He said the boy told him he was bullied at middle school, and that the bullying got worse after he told a counselor about it.
The doctor said the teen told him the counselor brought in several boys and told them the youngster had accused them of bullying, which led to more severe bullying. Martin said the boy told him he brought a machete to school “to protect himself if he had to.”
But prosecutors questioned Martin’s testimony, pointing out that he had not treated the teen in a year.
The boy was sent to a juvenile facility in Columbia after bringing the machete to the middle school. Dr. Julian Sharman, who saw the boy there, testified for the defense that the boy told him he had been bullied and that he was going to “kill the bullies.”
Prosecutors spent four days trying to persuade the judge to try the teen as an adult. They noted that the boy searched the internet for reports of other school shootings and those who committed the crimes. He also conducted searches on various types of weapons.
They also presented testimony from other doctors who said they felt the youngster should be tried as an adult and probably could not be rehabilitated.
Prosecutors say the teen shot his father, then drove the father’s pickup to the school where he opened fire. Jacob Hall, 6, died from a gunshot wound to the leg. A teacher and another student were wounded.