GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The two men who admitted to the ambush of 18-year-old Kolton T. Shearer in 2016 were sentenced to prison last Wednesday as part of a plea agreement with the State Attorney’s Office.
Taurean A. Johnson, 31, will spend 30 years behind bars, while Ozell McNabb Jr., 25, was given a 26-year sentence after they lulled the baseball standout to a house party and shot him in a botched robbery attempt two years ago.
Both pleaded guilty to second degree murder. In doing so, they avoided a jury trial and prosecutors agreed to drop gun charges. Both also will get credit for the more than 900 days they’ve already spent inside the Clay County Jail.
Both men faced Shearer’s family in court Wednesday.
A victim’s advocate read the family’s statement: “You have left me, along with his loving family and friends, with a wound so deep it will take a lifetime to heal.”
Both men also apologized, according to Action News Jax.
“Nothing I can say can bring their son back, but I just want to apologize for the situation,” McNabb said.
“I’m sorry for what happened,” Johnson said. “It was never my intent, and I’m greatly sorry for that.”
Shearer graduated from Middleburg High and was weeks away from returning for his second year at South Georgia State College, where he played baseball and was studying to be an engineer.
Prosecutors said Kolton, David Cody Levo and Tyler Besherse were invited to a party July 10, 2016, at County Road 16A in Green Cove Springs at 2 a.m. through a post on Facebook. When they arrived, Besherse was ordered to the ground. Shearer was shot in the stomach following a brief struggle, and Levo was shot in the leg. Efforts to revive Shearer weren’t successful.
Hundreds attended a memorial for Shearer at Ronnie Van Zant Memorial Park in Lake Asbury on July 13. His mother, Angie Shearer, used a Clay County Sheriff’s Office victim’s advocate to talk about her son, saying: “Kolton was an all-American boy who loved the outdoors, fishing, the beach and his family. He had a passion for baseball and excelled academically. He was looking forward to becoming an engineer as that was his life-long dream.”
The robbery was planned by Jordan Tyler Coleman, 23, police said. Alexandra G. Schreffler, 24, participated by posting the invitation, although she knew the men would be ambushed.
Coleman pleaded guilt to second-degree murder on Dec. 28, 2018 and was sentenced to 22 years. Schreffler agreed plead guilty to armed robbery and she agreed to testify against the other three for a reduced sentence that could range from 15 years-to-life.
All four involved in the murder were from Green Cove Springs.
Charging documents state that Coleman told Schreffler to invite some friends over who would have cash and drugs on them, so he could rob them. Coleman said he didn't have a gun, so McNabb and Johnson were also invited.
When Shearer arrived, the two gunmen demanded cash, drugs and the truck from Shearer and Levo, according to court documents.
Johnson had been released from prison less than three months before the shooting after spending eight years for a home invasion.