Teenagers sentenced to three years each in juvenile corrections facility for photographer’s death at Hocking Hills

Ohio

LOGAN, Ohio (WCMH) — Two teenagers who pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for the death of a photographer at Hocking Hills in 2019 were sentenced Friday to three years each at a juvenile corrections facility.

Jordan Buckley, 16, and Jaden Churchheus, 17, were sentenced in juvenile court for the death of Victoria Schafer, a 44-year-old Chillicothe photographer who was was struck and killed by a rolling log while she was near Old Man’s Cave on Sept. 2, 2019.

Schafer’s husband, Fritz, spoke at sentencing, along with other family members and several of the students she was taking senior portraits of that day at Hocking Hills State Park.

Fritz Schafer said it was a process for them to accept the three-year juvenile sentence in a plea agreement.

“My children are very compassionate,” Fritz Schafer said. “And what ultimately helped us make this decision, to offer this one deal, is that Victoria was a very compassionate person and we all felt that she would have wanted to give them a second chance. And her dad and mom and sister came to the same conclusion.”

The Schafers had four children together.

Both teens were originally sentenced to a minimum of three years and a maximum of four and a half years, but both had their sentence stayed and the case transferred to juvenile court, where the sentences were allowed to be reconsidered.

On Wednesday, a third person was charged in relation to Schafer’s death. Miranda Spencer, 20, of Nelsonville is charged with obstructing justice, a felony. Spencer was with the teens at Hocking Hills.

A Hocking County grand jury brought the charge on Sept. 25 against Spencer, who had testified earlier in the case.

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