KINGMAN – Brady Shuffler has accepted responsibility, and the reality of serving years behind bars, for causing the deaths and injuries of his friends and fellow student athletes at Lee Williams High School. Shuffler, 16, pleaded guilty to two counts each of manslaughter and aggravated assault during a Friday, Feb. 9 hearing before Mohave County Superior Court Judge Derek Carlisle, and a packed gallery.

Other criminal charges are dismissed in the deal providing Judge Carlisle significant discretion in meting out punishment. Carlisle can impose as little as three and as many as 18 years in prison, followed by probation for five years.

Deputy Mohave County Attorney James Schoppmann provided a factual basis for the plea deal that largely duplicated what has been published from law enforcement news releases, police reports and the few hearings that have been held in the case. Schoppmann told the court that Shuffler was driving at a very high rate of speed when he lost control of his Dodge Charger in the 3500 block of Louise Ave., last April 13.

Schoppmann said the victim survivor who remembers the crash has indicated Shuffler was driving “very fast” when the car “caught air and bottomed out” before rolling, ejecting all four passengers and sheering a utility pole four feet in diameter.

Tatum Meins, 17, was dead at the scene and Sherene “Siri” Walema, 15, died of her injuries following transport to Kingman Regional Medical Center. Cannon Cobanovich and Reilly Feil suffered very serious injuries, but survived.

Schoppmann told Judge Carlisle that Shuffler told a family member that he believed his speedometer displayed 110 miles per hour (mph) just before he lost control of the Charger. He also noted that the Kingman Police accident investigation estimated a 105 mph speed at that time.

Schoppmann offered new information from the black box data recorder. He said it indicated Shuffler reached a speed of 130-149 mph just seconds before the wreck.

Carlisle accepted the plea deal and scheduled a March 18 sentencing hearing. It will begin at 8:30 a.m. and could extend through the lunch hour as the Judge will be hearing the input of many, much of it focused on how many years the teenager should spend in the Arizona Department of Corrections.

About 60 spectators packed Carlisle’s courtroom for the change of plea hearing with more than a dozen others monitoring by phone or Zoom. It is anticipated more people will attend the sentencing hearing.

Attorneys supported the idea of using another, larger courtroom for that proceeding. Carlisle made clear that those with standing in the sentencing hearing – attorneys, court staff, witnesses and family members of the defendant and the victims – will have guaranteed priority seating.

Carlisle said others interested in attending the sentencing hearing must understand remaining seating will be provided on a ?“first come, first served” basis.