CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – The student responsible for a fatal shooting at David W Butler High School last October has pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter on Thursday afternoon.
Jatwan Cuffie, charged with shooting 16-year-old classmate Bobby McKeithen in a school hallway shortly before classes began on Oct. 29, 2018, is facing between 80 to 108 months in prison as a result of his plea.
Cuffie had been held in jail for several months after the incident before bonding out in January.
The shooting was said to have stemmed from a series of text messages between the two acquaintances and Assistant District Attorney Desmond McCallum explained that Cuffie did not claim to be a victim of bullying or harassment prior to the incident but instead was trying to hurt but not kill McKeithen.
The courtroom was packed full of family of both Cuffie and McKeithen. McKeithen’s parents addressed the court.
“I felt at the end of the day it was a pointless murder. It was unjustified,” said Bobby’s dad, Bobby McKeithen Jr. “Two kids, one caught in the system, one caught in death.”
Cuffie will serve anywhere from six to nine years as part of a plea agreement, where he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and got less prison time. Bobby McKeithen’s family was not happy that he won’t spend longer behind bars.
“I don’t think pleas are fair,” said Bobby’s mom, Ashley Mewborn, while addressing the court. “I think they need to be held accountable for the total act that they committed. If they can get six to nine years for taking someone’s life, than it can never get better.”
Mewborn called on the community to help stop the growing violence among teenagers. It’s something she and Cuffie’s mom agree on.
“Society has changed. They need to stop the gun violence,” said Ebony, Cuffie’s mom.
Cuffie himself did not address the court but his lawyer did so on his behalf and said he was remorseful for his actions.
“He’s devastated by his actions,” the defense lawyer said. “Most importantly he apologized and is remorseful to Mr. McKeithen’s family and the effect his actions has had on them and he hopes someday they’ll find peace.”
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