Two Ohio teens whose actions led to the death of a local photographer on Labor Day 2019 have plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and been sentenced to three years in juvenile detention, bringing the sad story of Victoria Schafer’s untimely death to some sort of conclusion.
The incident took place on Monday, September 2nd, 2019. Victoria Schafer was taking student photos in Hocking Hills State Park, near a spot called Old Man’s Cave, when a log came crashing down from above killing her almost instantly. But what seemed, at first, like a tragic accident was quickly ruled foul play when investigators discovered that the log had not fallen by accident.
A call went out for evidence leading to the arrest of those involved, and after a few days, 17-year-olds Jaden Churchheus and Jordan Buckley were arrested and confessed.
Despite their age, the duo was originally charged as adults, but calls for leniency from those who knew Schafer and a plea deal have led to a much lighter sentence than the teens might have gotten.
After pleading guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter, the charges of murder and reckless homicide were dropped and, as of Friday afternoon, Churchheus and Buckley were both sentenced to 3 years in juvenile detention. If things go badly there, they could still spend up to 4.5 years in an adult prison, but according to local news station WBNS, the judge has put a stay on the adult sentence “pending the success of the juvenile detention.”
WBNS reporter Brittany Bailey shared several clips from the sentencing on Twitter, including a powerful and deeply sad moment when the late Mrs. Schafer’s husband Fritz Schafer described the last evening he spend with his wife and accepted Churchheus’ apology:
Perhaps the most powerful moment of the day. Fritz Schafer describes the last night he had with his wife and then accepts the apology Jaden Churchheus offered at the last hearing. #10TV pic.twitter.com/CybozHd5Q6
— Brittany Bailey (@BrittBaileyTV) October 16, 2020
Sadly, this might not be the end of what Mrs. Schafer’s family has to go through in court. A third teenager, Miranda Spencer, who was with the group the day the Victoria Schafer was killed has been charged with obstruction of justice.
(via WBNS News 10)