AKRON, Ohio » A 15-year-old boy has pleaded guilty to aggravated murder in the sledgehammer slayings of an Ohio couple and could face life in prison without parole.
Jamall Vaughn signed a guilty plea on Friday, court records show. Vaughn was 14 in April 2013 when Margaret Schobert, 59, and Jeffrey Schobert, 56, of New Franklin were bludgeoned to death.
Prosecutors have said Vaughn and 18-year-old Shawn Ford Jr. walked eight miles from Akron to New Franklin, where they retrieved a sledgehammer from the couple’s garage that Ford used to kill the couple. Authorities say Jeffrey Schobert was the first to be killed. He had several superficial knife wounds believed to have been inflicted by Vaughn.
The teens then used Jeffrey Schobert’s cellphone to text Margaret Schobert and urge her to come home from a hospital where she was staying with her daughter, Chelsea, who had been stabbed and beaten 10 days earlier by Ford because she had refused him sex at a party, prosecutors said. Despite her parents’ protests, Chelsea and Ford were dating at the time.
Ford killed the couple because they would not allow him to visit Chelsea in the hospital, prosecutors said.
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.
Vaughn’s trial had been scheduled to start Monday. He could not have received a death sentence because of his age.
Attorneys and prosecutors are not permitted to comment about the case because of a judge’s gag order.