Two Teens That Killed Cleveland Photographer Face Life Imprisonment, to Be Tried as Adults

In the latest update in the shocking story that saw a photographer killed as she shot senior portraits, the two 16-year-olds responsible are due to be tried as adults. The pair are charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault, and reckless homicide, after they pushed a large log over a cliff, while she was taking pictures below.

The decision was made by a judge in Ohio, where the two boys are due to be tried at the Court of Common Pleas. As per NBC4i, if convicted, they could be imprisoned for life.

Photographer Victoria Schafer was just 44, and in the middle of taking portraits at Hocking Hills State Park two months ago when she was killed. The pair responsible have been named as 16-year-old Jaden Churchheus and Jordan Buckley. Their involvement came to light after one texted a friend to say he “did something serious.” Officers later ruled the falling tree was not the result of nature, and Ohio Crime Stoppers offered a $10,000 reward for anyone who could provide information leading to an arrest. Upon being taken into custody, the boys admitted “forcing a 74-pound log off a cliff,” which fell more than 75 feet before hitting Schafer.

They have been issues a bond of $100,000 each.

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27 Comments

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

God, I hope they get the maximum.

Alex Yakimov's picture

Tragedy already happened. Nothing could amend it. What good would “maximum” serve in your opinion?

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

1. Punishment.
2. So they can't do it again.
3. To set a precedent that being a minor that does guarantee immunity.
4. Maybe it'll scare off other stupid fucks from doing the same thing.

Chris Sampson's picture

Yes, Eddie. There are people who do weigh potential punishments vs their intent to do harm. "I'll only get probation" or "they won't really do anything to me". Instead, "I'm throwing my life away".
While I can agree with many that we should be wise about punishment, rehabilitation and reforms to get there, the "nothing will bring her back" doesn't get us to justice.

Exactly. Scare the crap out of any one that thinks it's okay to do this sort of thing. Reminds of dumb kids throwing rocks off of over passes killing people. That kind of stuff needs to be heavily punished.

I don't think that there was a whole lot of thinking going on with these murderers. While I'm not advocating the death penalty, they should definitely be removed from the gene pool, by being incarcerated for life.

marc gabor's picture

I would be surprised if these kids wanted to cause serious bodily harm / kill an innocent woman. I know that seems insane "gee what do you expect to happen if you chuck a log off a cliff" but the young brain is weird that way. I certainly did a bunch of stupid shit not because I thought I would get off easy but because I was unable to see the potential consequences of my actions before I committed them. I'm willing to guess that if these kids were released back into the wild they would be so traumatized by this event that they would never want to go near a cliff or a log again.

So how do you punish them? It all depends on who you believe is served by the punishment. If it's simply a matter of making sure they never do it again they probably don't need to spend more than 12-24 months in jail + mental health counseling. If it's a matter a of bringing justice to the family of the victims then maybe 25 years is fair, maybe not. Personally I don't see how loosing a loved one would want make me want to destroy the lives of two young people who acted foolishly with devastating consequences.

Ted Mercede's picture

You made the comments that I was thinking as well. From what was read, it seems doubtful their was intent to kill a random person seen below by pushing a log off of a cliff. You can't take an action back, and they need to be held responsible for their actions, but hopefully the court and its decision is just and proper.

I can't imagine the tragedy the family is going through with this loss though, killed by taking photos.

What do you suggest we do Alex? A woman is dead. Should they just be made to apologize and call it even?

Alex Yakimov's picture

Thank you for your question, Kiley. How could I suggest anything while not having all the evidence and panel of legal and ethical experts?

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

You sure love to philosophize and fish for excuses.

--Alex Yakimov: "...How could I suggest anything while not having all the evidence and panel of legal and ethical experts?"

--Article: "Upon being taken into custody, the boys admitted “forcing a 74-pound log off a cliff,” which fell more than 75 feet before hitting Schafer."

What's your theory? They are covering up for someone else? They were paid to take the blame? If you answer yes, you need to lay off on all those crime/drama TV shows.

Alex Yakimov's picture

Thanks, Eddie. You seem to equate asking questions with philosophizing and evidence seeking with “fishing for excuses” You seems to think that it is enough info already to punish minors. I think that all the evidence should be taken into consideration. I assume that some information is available only for prosecution so far.

You: "You seems to think that it is enough info already to punish minors."

The article: ""Upon being taken into custody, the boys admitted “forcing a 74-pound log off a cliff,” which fell more than 75 feet before hitting Schafer."

How much more would you require?

David Pavlich's picture

Always easy to say until it happens to one of your loved ones.

Alex Yakimov's picture

That is the reason for impartiality of the legal system to deal with such tough ethical circumstances.

What good would “less than maximum” serve in your opinion?

Leigh Miller's picture

Punishment but with some chance of rehabilitation. At least 25 years with a chance of parole.

It's all a matter of where and who, apparently.
Death by trundling in Wyoming brought a couple fines and a short time in jail for one of them.
https://www.climbing.com/news/trundled-rock-kills-nols-leader/

Luke Adams's picture

I guess they’ve determined that the boys intended to hit the photographer? That it wasn’t just a case of rolling a log off a cliff (as stupid as that may be) for the fun of it or to try and scare people?

It's difficult to tell with the variety of charges.

Apparently looks to be the usual prosecutor "throw everything on the wall and see what sticks" idea. I suspect in the end it will be something along the lines of negligent homicide, manslaughter, or third-degree murder, with an appropriate sentence.

Simon Patterson's picture

Cue the "full adult sentence for murder vs slap on the wrist" debate, as if there are no possible options in between. Nothing like a false dichotomy to get the blood boiling.

Gerald Bertram's picture

When I consider this story and instead of jumping straight to the thought of "I hope they rot in jail!" I look to what Schafer's son said: "If there's anybody that understands teenagers making mistakes, it's my mom and me. If it was truly just some kids that didn't know any better or were just being stupid kids, and not anything more than that, I think my mom would understand." Pretty amazing statement for a young man who just lost his mother.

Logan Cressler's picture

"murder, involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault, and reckless homicide" Well fucking pick one. Cant be both murder and involuntary manslaughter and felonious assault. Prosecutor is just throwing everything at them to see which one will stick. Prove their intent to kill the photographer or drop the murder charge. You dont need to charge for both the assault and the consequences, so drop the assault charge. Manslaughter or reckless homicide is more than enough charges.

dale clark's picture

Young people need to realize the choices they make can effect them for the rest of their life. Sure, nobody went to the park that day to kill somebody. However, nobody wants to kill people when they drink too much and drive on the wrong side of the highway. Same principle. As far as I know, there were no substances to inhibit the judgement of the young people (I have not read every story..I could be wrong). The poor lady was just trying to make a living and doing nothing to attract a prank like this or death. Just a very sad situation for the photographer's family.

For those who feel sorry for the teens, you have never been a victim of a crime and you don't understand the pain. My mother and father were brutally murdered when I was a kid, decades later the typical feel sorry for the incarcerated groups with unlimited resources and money worked to free both men and the state attorney general didn't have the funds or money to fight. My mother and father might be dead, but I am also a victim who spent years in therapy dealing with this, all the whole both men earned bachelors degree in prison free of charge from a well respected university. Photography has been therapy for me all these years, but the pain will always be there. Its easy to say well she is dead what's the purpose of putting the teens away, well family and friends will continue to suffer, the suffering never ends for the victims, but our do good society often forgets about us...

If they're not going to execute the brats, at least execute the parents - THEY created those monsters.