He also posted Instagram videos about Columbine that some at the school considered a potential threat.The teen grew more volatile, insisting that he’d been bullied, a claim investigators later questioned.
“Then I looked up all these other ones.”Through much of his childhood, Jesse had seemed no different from any other kid in the Southern community of 4,000 people. It wasn’t until he moved to a middle school in a neighboring county that his “other side,” as one psychiatrist put it, became clear.
Before he attacked Townville Elementary, Jesse had gone there through fifth grade, doing well in his classes and hardly ever getting into trouble. He pulled the legs off crickets and smashed frogs against the ground and habitually watched a video of kittens being mutilated.
In the chat, he said he had researched police response times for the area and found that it would take them 15 minutes to get there, and maybe 45 for SWAT.
He said he would throw pipe bombs into each classroom before he got in a shootout with police and killed himself with his shotgun.
It had jammed on the playground, just 12 seconds after he first pulled the trigger.
The weapon Jesse really wanted, the one he’d tried desperately to get, was, the teenager believed, locked in his father’s gun safe: the Ruger Mini-14, a semiautomatic rifle much like the gun that, 17 months later, was fired again and again at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, during one of the deadliest school shootings in American history.
“He wanted people to know.”At the five-day hearing that began Feb.
12, prosecutors pushed for Jesse to be tried as an adult because if he remained in the juvenile system, he could only be held until age 21.
23, Jesse looked up the incident on a computer at the detention center.
He also repeatedly searched for the lyrics of a vicious rap song, “One Shot Kill.”“My observations of him in this courtroom over the last few days have been that he is still a hundred percent in that mind-set,” Ballenger testified, saying that he’d seen Jesse smile, over and over, as his crimes were discussed.
Jesse’s defense team, meanwhile, tried to portray him as a lost but misunderstood child, alleging that he had been bullied by kids at school and mistreated by his father at home.