Expert says teen charged in 2 deaths shouldn’t be released
ANDERSON, S.C. (AP) — A neuropsychologist testified Thursday that a teen charged with killing his father before going to a South Carolina school and fatally shooting a first-grader shouldn’t be released, saying the teen suggested he would repeat the act.
Dr. Mark Wagner of the Medical University of South Carolina testified at a hearing to determine whether the teen should be tried as an adult or a juvenile. Wagner told the court the rehabilitation is “not likely going to be successful.”
“I think it would be a danger to the public if he was released . . . He told me he enjoys thinking about killing other people,” he said.
Wagner said the teen told him if “he doesn’t get fixed, he might do it again.”
Testimony is expected to resume on Friday.
Earlier, a sheriff’s detective says the teen searched the internet for information on school shootings.
Anderson County Detective McKindra Bibb examined the teen’s cellphone and testified Thursday that the suspect searched for “youngest mass murderer” among other topics before the September 2016 shooting at Townville Elementary School. The boy had just turned 14 at the time.
Bibb testified that the teen also had searched terms including the Orlando nightclub shooting, as well as the shooters responsible for the Sandy Hook Elementary School attack in Connecticut and the Columbine High School attack in Colorado.
The teen had a chart detailing mass shootings in the U.S. and looked for information on Dylann Roof, who has been sentenced to die for killing nine people at a historically black church in Charleston in 2015.
The teen also had images on his cellphone of a tactical long rifle and other weapons including guns and knives, according to the detective.
The day of the shootings, authorities said, the teen shot his father three times as he sat on the sofa, then took his keys and drove his pickup truck to Townville Elementary School and opened fire on students on the playground.
Jacob Hall, 6, was shot in the leg and later died. A teacher was wounded in the shoulder and another student was hurt, but both survived.
Prosecutors want the teen tried as an adult, where he could face decades in prison if convicted. His attorneys want him tried as a juvenile, where he could be held only until his 21st birthday if found guilty.
The Associated Press is not using the teen’s name or that of his father while the boy remains in the juvenile court system.