CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The high school student accused of shooting and killing another student at Butler High School last fall pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter Thursday.
Jatwan Cuffie, 17, was initially charged with second-degree murder for killing Bobby McKeithen.
The deadly shooting on Oct. 29 stemmed from a fight, according to an arrest affidavit. It said McKeithen punched Cuffie in the side of the face and then Cuffie shot him.
Channel 9 veteran crime reporter Glenn Counts was inside the courtroom when Cuffie made the plea.
The deal means Cuffie will only serve a little more than six and a half years behind bars.
"At the end of the day the system ain't fair, period. My son's dead. This other kid got like seven years, basically, for murder," said the victim's father.
If Cuffie was convicted of second-degree murder, he would have been facing 12 years to life behind bars.
Cuffie's attorneys read a letter of apology. The teen did not directly address the court.
Cuffie had never been in trouble before, which is one of the reasons he was offered such a good deal. His mother, Ebony, spoke with Channel 9 afterward.
"We've been praying for Bobby McKeithen’s family through this whole thing, and we are going to continue to pray for them,” she said.
“I feel like the school system should have been at a better point with metal detectors and more resource officers in place, we might have prevented that,” McKeithen’s father said.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has increased safety checks at all schools after the Butler High School shooting.
Cox Media Group