Teen gets 25-to-life as accomplice in sledgehammer slayings

AP News
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Posted: Jun 30, 2015 6:19 PM

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — A 16-year-old boy was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison on Tuesday for his role as an accomplice in the gruesome sledgehammer slayings of a prominent attorney and his wife in April 2013.

Jamall Vaughn was 14 when he walked eight miles with Shawn Ford Jr. to the home of Jeffrey and Margaret Schobert, where he watched the 18-year-old beat the couple to death with a sledgehammer. The same judge sentenced Ford, now 20, to death on Monday.

Prosecutors said Ford killed the couple because he was angry that the couple wouldn't allow him to visit their teenage daughter, his former girlfriend, in the hospital. Ford was accused of critically injuring Chelsea Schobert 10 days earlier by stabbing and beating her after she refused him sex at a party.

Vaughn was accused of inflicting superficial knife wounds on Jeffrey Schobert's back after Ford struck Schobert more than a dozen times with a sledgehammer he'd taken from the couple's garage. He pleaded guilty in February to aggravated murder and aggravated robbery charges.

Vaughn's attorney, Adam VanHo, said after sentencing that Ford told him "to do something" to Jeffrey Schobert after the sledgehammer beating.

Vaughn had no history of violence and had fallen under Ford's control, VanHo said.

"It's tragic," VanHo said. "Jamall should be at home playing video games with his friends instead of facing 25 years to life in prison."

A jury that found Ford guilty of two counts of aggravated murder in October and recommended the death penalty. Judge Tom Parker gave Ford a death sentence for the slaying of Margaret Schobert, 59, and life in prison for the death of her 56-year-old husband.

Ford killed Jeffrey Schobert as he lay in his bed the night of April 1, 2013, prosecutors said. Ford then sent texts to Margaret Schobert to lure her home from the hospital, where she was spending the night with Chelsea. After the slayings, authorities said, Ford and Vaughn stole money and other items from the home and drove off in one of the couple's vehicles.