An Ohio teenager pleaded guilty over his role in the September 2019 death of a woman who was killed after a nearly 75-pound log was pushed onto her while she was taking photos at a park.
The woman, Victoria Schafer, 44, of Chillicothe, was on the stairs near Old Man’s Cave in Hocking Hills State Park when the log struck her. The Dayton Daily News reported at the time that Schafer, who owned a photography business, was shooting portraits for a group of high school seniors when she was killed.
Jaden W. Churchheus and Jordan Buckley, both 17, were arrested in connection to the death and were initially charged with murder and reckless homicide.
The teens were going to be tried as juveniles but the decision was later made to charge them both as adults, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer.
Churchheus appeared in Hocking County Common Pleas Court Wednesday and entered a guilty plea to a charge of involuntary manslaughter as part of a deal that dropped the murder and reckless homicide charges, his attorney, Kathryn Cornelius-Blume, said.
“That day at Old Man’s Cave I never would have imagined that my actions would result in this. I have thought about the fact that I have caused someone’s death every day since it happened and I will carry that with me for the rest of my life,” Churchheus said in court, according to WBNS-TV. “I realize nothing I say can bring Ms. Schafer back but I am truly sorry.”
Buckley is scheduled for a court appearance on Sept. 25. He is expected to plead guilty under a similar deal, the Enquirer reports. Buckley’s attorney, K. Robert Toy, could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.