A 15-year-old boy, Jamall Vaughn, has pleaded guilty to killing a Ohio couple with a sledgehammer. According to the Mail, Vaughn, who was 14-years-old at the time of the murder, signed a guilty plea for aggravated murder last Friday. Vaughn and his 18-year-old friend, Shawn Ford, Jr., beat 59-year-old Margaret Schobert and 56-year-old Jeffrey Schobert to death in their home in New Franklin, Ohio.
According to the Huffington Post, Vaughn and Shawn Ford, Jr., walked eight miles from Akron to New Franklin, where they climbed through a window into the couple’s garage and found the sledgehammer that Ford used to bludgeon the couple to death. Authorities say Jeffrey Schobert was the first to be killed. He had several superficial knife wounds believed to have been inflicted by Vaughn.
Vaughn and Ford, Jr., then broke into the house and beat Mr. Schobert to death with the sledgehammer. Mr. Schobert, a health-care lawyer, was killed when he was struck 14 times with the hammer in his own bedroom during the April 2013 attack. Vaughn and Ford, Jr., then used Mr. Schobert’s cell phone to text Mrs. Schobert, telling her to come back to her lakeside home from a hospital where she was staying with her adopted daughter, Chelsea.
Chelsea was in hospital as a result of an attack by Ford 10 days previous. In that attack, Chelsea had been beaten and stabbed by Ford after she refused him sex at a party. She sustained a fractured skull as a result of the attack and was hospitalized for a month. Chelsea initially said that the attack had been by another man, as she and Ford were dating at the time.
Whilst Jamall Vaughn and Ford waited for Mrs. Schobert to return to the house, they drank soda and played video games. According to Cleveland.com, Mrs. Schobert arrived back at the house around 6 a.m. on April 2 and Ford and Vaughn struck her 19 times with the sledgehammer.
Prosecutors said that Vaughn and Ford killed Mr. and Mrs. Schobert because they would not allow Ford to visit Chelsea in the hospital.
A jury found Ford, who is now 20, guilty of aggravated murder last October, and then voted to recommend the death penalty. A judge will decide whether to send Ford to death row or to give him life in prison with or without a chance at parole. No sentencing date has been set. Ford’s attorneys have argued that Ford should not be executed because of his low IQ, estimated at between 62 and 80, according to trial testimony.
Vaughn’s trial had been scheduled to start Monday. He could not have received a death sentence because of his age, but County Judge Tom Parker could sentence Vaughn to life in prison without parole, or with parole eligibility in 20, 25, or 30 years.
Jamall Vaughn also pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary charges, he could be sentenced for up to 11 years on each of those charges.