A Henry County man will spend his life in prison without the possibility of parole for killing four people at a bonfire house party.

Jacob Kosky plead guilty but mentally ill today to four counts of malice murder and eight counts of felony murder, along with multiple counts of aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and theft by taking.

Henry County Superior Court Senior Judge Arch McGarity sentenced Kosky, 25, to four consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole, plus an additional five years to serve. Under the plea agreement, Kosky also waived all rights to an appeal.

The investigation revealed on Oct. 26, 2016, Kosky and codefendant Matthew Baker Jr., 21, attended a bonfire party at a home on Moccasin Gap Road in south Henry County. During the night, the two men exited the house, returned with guns and then opened fire.

Matthew Hicks, 18, Keith Gibson, 29, and Sophia Bullard, 20, were found dead inside the home in the early morning hours of Oct. 27, 2016. Destiny Olinger, 20, was found inside the home suffering from at least one gunshot wound. She died two days later at the hospital.

Today, Kosky’s lawyers presented evidence of the defendant’s mental health problems. The judge then ruled that Kosky was responsible for his actions in killing the four victims, but was mentally ill when he opened fire on the victims.

Prior to sentencing, the families of the victims told the judge how much Kosky’s actions impacted their lives and asked the judge to accept the negotiated plea.

“The decision to move forward with this plea was made in conjunction with input from all of the victims’ families,” Henry County District Attorney Darius Pattillo said. “This plea is one step toward closure for the victims’ families by guaranteeing that Jacob Kosky is held accountable for his actions and never gets out of the prison system.”

In 2017, the district attorney’s office filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty against Kosky and Baker. Under the plea agreement, Pattillo agreed to withdraw the death notice against Kosky in exchange for the life without parole sentence.

Baker’s charges are still pending and he will be prosecuted at a later date.


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