Walhalla, SC – Jacob Daniel Drotning was found guilty today by an Oconee County jury for the attempted murder of his wife in 2014 as well as other charges. The Honorable Scott Sprouse sentenced Drotning to 30 years for Attempted Murder and 20 years for Arson, which are to be served consecutively, and also 10 years for Criminal Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature and 5 years for Malicious Injury to Property, both of which are to be served concurrently with the other two charges.  


On May 16, 2014, a motorist called 911 after being stopped on Utica Street in Seneca by a man shouting that his house was on fire. When Seneca Fire Department arrived, they found the victim, Catherine Cook, laying on the porch with extensive burns to her body. She told first responders that her husband lit her on fire and she did not know why. Drotning stated that he tried to start the grill with gasoline and it blew up on his wife. Examination of the grill revealed that the grill had not been used and was not involved in the fire. Ms. Cook was subsequently airlifted to Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta, GA. Once at the hospital, the victim responded to questions from the nursing staff which indicated that Drotning was responsible for the burns.  


The crime scene was processed by Oconee County Sheriff’s Office and subsequently analyzed by South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. Special Agent Daren Vaughn testified that at least four separate fires had been set in the house and smoke detectors had been ripped from the ceiling. Investigators also found a gas can tossed into the hallway.  


“Catherine “Katie” Cook is an amazing young woman,” stated Solicitor Chrissy Adams. “During the last two years, she has endured 49 surgeries to overcome the injuries that she sustained at the hands of Jacob Drotning. Although she will carry the scars of these injuries for the rest of her life, her courage and will to survive has brought us to this courtroom today. Jacob Drotning will now see the justice that Katie has waited for. As we mourn those who have died because of domestic violence, we also celebrate those, such as Katie Cook who have survived.”