A man and woman who killed her former schoolmate in the parking lot of a Temecula apartment complex for reasons they never revealed were each sentenced Monday.
Cheyenne Ambiehl Armstrong, 20, and Zachary Peter Shumaker, 22, both of Winchester, pleaded guilty earlier this month to the 2015 slaying of 19-year-old Joseph “Joey” O’Donnell.
Under her plea agreement with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, Armstrong admitted a voluntary manslaughter charge, while Shumaker admitted a second-degree murder allegation as part of his agreement.
Superior Court Judge Kelly Hansen certified their plea terms and imposed an 11-year state prison sentence on Armstrong; Shumaker was sentenced to 15 years behind bars.
“Joey’s family described him as a peace-loving guy, the type to avoid a violent situation,” Deputy District Attorney Sean Crandell told City News Service. “This whole thing is baffling.”
According to the prosecution, the defendants went to O’Donnell’s residence at the Acacia Park Resort Apartments on Solano Way about 2 a.m. on Dec. 15, 2015.
Armstrong had sent the victim text messages beforehand, stating that she wanted to catch up with O’Donnell, with whom she had attended Temecula Valley High School, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
The young man agreed, saying he would meet Armstrong in the parking garage to make sure she could find his apartment. Sheriff’s investigators never determined whether O’Donnell had any idea that the woman intended to bring her then-boyfriend, Shumaker.
Why he went along, and whether he orchestrated the rendezvous, were never confirmed.
O’Donnell’s roommate told detectives that he initially accompanied the victim to the parking area, but when Armstrong said she needed to search her car for her purse, the witness decided to go back to the apartment and crawl into bed.
O’Donnell was left alone with the woman, and in that space of time, prosecutors theorize, Shumaker appeared and confronted the victim, pulling a pocket knife and thrusting into his chest.
O’Donnell managed to stagger away but collapsed moments later, dying on the spot.
Using phone records and the roommate’s statements, investigators quickly zeroed in on Armstrong, culminating in charges against her and Shumaker, neither of whom provided details about what transpired.
They had no prior felony convictions.
–City News Service