BENTON COUNTY, WA - Jeremiah Cunningham was sentenced to ten years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder today in court.
Fe Hadley, one of the two other students that helped Cunningham plot a fellow student's murder, also appeared in court. She had a trial date set for June 20.
BENTON CITY, WA - NBC Right Now has been following this student for nearly two years: Jeremiah Cunningham along with two other students plotted to stab a classmate to death back in 2017. They planned to lure the victim behind the Kiona Benton High School Market during lunch.
One student got to the victim first and told him to go back to class.
Deputies say the teen was new to the school and the suspects thought he "disrupted the flow" of the social order.
Cunningham has been locked up in the Benton-Franklin Juvenile Detention Center on half a million dollars bail since November 2017.
Today in court at the Benton County Justice Center, Cunningham changed his plea to guilty. This means he could face six to 12 years in prison. His sentencing date is now set for May 2.
Cunningham also has a new charge of felony harassment for threatening a detention center employee and court documents say that he meant to either harm or kill the employee. He is in juvenile detention until he turns 18 in July, when he will then be moved to the Benton County Jail in Kennewick.
11-22-17 ORIGINAL STORY:
BENTON CITY, WA - A Benton City 16-year-old who plotted to stab a classmate to death will be charged as an adult.
Jeremiah Cunningham made his first appearance before a Benton County judge today, and is now charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.
Cunningham, along with two other teens, planned to lure an 18-year-old male student to the back of the Ki-Be Market during lunch on November 15th, where they were going to stab him to death.
Benton County Sheriff deputies say 18-year-old Ryan Vaughn was new to the high school and the three teens believed he had "disrupted the flow" of the social order.
Things could have unfolded much differently if it wasn't for one classmate.
Reporter Jaclyn Selesky spoke with one of the two Ki-Be students who chased off Cunningham behind the Market, and possibly saved a life.
"I think it was just luck of the draw," said student Dalton Pullum. "We happened to be in the right place at the right time."
It was just a normal day for Pullum. He and his friend were grabbing lunch at the Ki-Be Market, but then they noticed something suspicious.
"There was some kid standing out there with a mask," said Pullum. "So we looked over and saw him propped between two cars."
That masked boy was Cunningham. Knowing something wasn't right, Pullum decided to follow him to see what was going on.
"So after sitting there for a few minutes and seeing that we weren't going to leave, he just took off and ran away and I think he just gave up on whatever he was trying to do," Pullum explained.
According to court documents, what Cunningham was trying to do was sneak up behind 18-year-old Vaughn, stab him in the chest, drag him up a hill and hide him in a bush.
Fortunately, Pullum got to Vaughn first, and told him to go back to class.
"He went back to the school and we had the same class after lunch, so our teacher sent him down to the office to tell him what we had all seen."
Vaughn has since returned to school since all of this has happened.
As far as the two other students who were involved, the Benton County prosecutor tells us this is an ongoing investigation, and at the end of the day, their goal is to hold everyone accountable.
Cunningham's omnibus hearing will be on December 26th. His trial is set for January 16th and bail is set at $500,000.