She Was Killed by a Falling Log. Now, a Guilty Plea

Jordan Buckley, 17, admits to involuntary manslaughter in death of 44-year-old photographer
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2020 8:45 AM CDT
Teen Who Pushed Log Off Cliff Enters a Plea
Jordan Buckley is seen in court in Logan, Ohio, on Nov. 15, 2019.   (Robert McGraw/The Chillicothe Gazette via AP)

A 17-year-old who pushed a log off a cliff at an Ohio park over Labor Day weekend last year, killing a mom of four, has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Jordan Buckley, who'd originally faced murder and reckless homicide charges, put in his plea last Friday regarding the death of 44-year-old photographer Victoria Schafer at Hocking Hills State Park, Fox News reports. "I understand that my actions that day [have] caused your family's life to change," Buckley said to Schafer's family in court, per a video shared by Inside Edition. "I know that no words that I can speak can bring back your beloved wife, daughter, and sister." Buckley went on to say he would live his life honoring Schafer by trying to keep others out of similar trouble.

"There will not be a day for the rest of my life that I will not think of this tragedy," he added. "I hope that someday you will find it in your heart to forgive me." The Columbus Dispatch notes that prosecutors, citing an attempt to cover up their crime and a "lack of remorse," had wanted both boys to be tried as adults. They were, though the case will shift to juvenile court for sentencing. Jaden Churchheus, now 17, also pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter earlier this month for his own role in Schafer's death. "I have thought about the fact that I caused someone's death every day since it happened," he said, per WSYX. "And I will carry that for the rest of my life. ... I am truly sorry." The two are set to be sentenced later this year, with a judge's recommendation they each get at least three years in a juvenile detention center. (More manslaughter stories.)

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