Teens to spend at least 3 years in juvenile facility for death of woman struck by log

Posted at 6:41 PM, Oct 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-18 12:00:09-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Two teenage boys have been ordered held in a juvenile facility for at least three years in the death of a woman killed last year when she was struck by a log the boys had pushed off a cliff at an Ohio state park.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that a judge ordered the now-17-year-olds committed to the custody of the Ohio Department of Youth Services for a minimum sentence of three years and a maximum sentence of until they reach the age of 21. Both were convicted of felony involuntary manslaughter in Hocking County Juvenile Court.

Victoria Schafer, a married mother of four, was taking photos at the foot of the stairs at Old Man’s Cave in Hocking Hills State Park when she was struck by the log on Sept. 2. Authorities said the teens pushed the log, which weighed 74 pounds (33 kilograms), off a cliff at the top of the stairs.

Schaefer’s widower, Fritz, testified in separate hearings Friday for the defendants, saying he was disturbed by reports that the defendants showed a lack of remorse and “were bragging about what they did,” particularly a report that one defendant had bragged he “caught a body at 16.”

“Victoria’s death was so tragic, so devastating, so senseless. It’s unimaginable — whatever I say today is not going to come close to describing how painful this has been for me and for my family,” he said.

Both defendants addressed the court before sentencing, apologizing for their actions and expressing gratitude to the victim’s family for being merciful.