A 15-year-old boy has pleaded guilty to aggravated murder for his part in a brutal April 2013 attack in which an Ohio couple was killed with a sledgehammer.
The Associated Press reports Jamall Vaughn signed the guilty plea Friday, according to court records. He was 14 at the time 59-year-old Margaret Schobert and Jeffrey Schobert, 56, were beaten to death in their New Franklin home.
Vaughn also pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery, according to Cleveland.com.
Prosecutors alleged Vaughn and his friend, 18-year-old Shawn Ford Jr., walked eight miles from their homes in Akron to New Franklin to kill the couple. Once at the home, the two climbed in through a garage window and retrieved a sledgehammer, prosecutors said.
They then reportedly entered the home and beat to death Jeffrey Schobert and used his cellphone to text Margaret Schobert and urge her to return to the house.
At the time, Margaret Schobert was staying at a nearby hospital with her daughter, Chelsea, who had been stabbed and beaten by Ford because the girl refused to have sex with him, prosecutors said.
When Margaret responded to the text messages from her husband’s phone by returning to the house, prosecutors believe Vaughn and Ford killed her with the sledgehammer as well.
Authorities argued that Ford was motivated to kill the couple because they would not let him visit Chelsea in the hospital. Ford and the Schoberts’ daughter were dating at the time, but the parents reportedly did not approve of the relationship.
A jury convicted Ford, who is now 20, of aggravated murder in October. Jurors subsequently voted to recommend the death penalty to Summit County Judge Tom Parker.
Ford’s attorneys have argued that the man should not be executed because of his low IQ. The judge has not yet issued a sentence.
Parker could sentence Vaughn to life in prison without parole or make him eligible for parole in 20, 25 or 30 years. Vaughn is not eligible for the death penalty because he was 14 at the time the crime was committed.
Parker has issued a gag order and defense attorneys and prosecutors are not permitted to speak to the press about the case.