Suspects enter pleas in CSRA federal cases
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A federal inmate has pleaded guilty to an escape that parked the second manhunt targeting him within a span of months, according to prosecutors.
The most recent charge against Jonah Schafner, of Grovetown, stems from a March escape from Jefferson County jail, where he was being held while awaiting transfer to prison after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of firearms by a convicted felon.
He was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 108 months for those offenses, but he could face five more years in prison for the escape that only gave him four days of freedom before he was caught again in Columbia County.
Even before his escape, he made headlines by putting a Grovetown neighborhood on virtual lockdown.
In early September, authorities launched a massive search for Schafner in the Crown Heights and Sylvan Lake areas. He was wanted at the time in a series of crimes, including entering autos and motor vehicle theft.
Before they caught him, officers were searching cars going in and out of the area.
Several other CSRA residents pleaded guilty in other cases announced this week by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of Georgia:
- Gary Hamiter Joye Jr., 36, of Augusta, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. A Fort Gordon Military Police officer found Joye on Sept. 9, 2020, asleep in his car, which was illegally parked on the lawn of the post laundry service. In a subsequent search of Joye’s vehicle, investigators found a quantity of methamphetamine, along with drug sales paraphernalia and $3,000 in cash.
- Letrail Jerome West, 42, of Augusta, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. West admitted illegally possessing drugs and an SKS-style rifle when arrested Oct. 30, 2019, by Richmond County sheriff’s deputies
- Jamerson Brandon Turner, 28, of Augusta, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Turner admitted illegally possessing a pistol when questioned May 15, 2020, by Richmond County sheriff’s deputies.
- Zachary Brent Sadler, 27, of Augusta, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Sadler admitted pawning a handgun in October 2019, and he later was charged by agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when attempted to repurchase the gun and was denied during a background check.
- Kijordan Markel Ceaser, 22, of Thomson, pleaded guilty to illegal receipt of a firearm by a person under indictment. Ceaser, who was on parole after a conviction on state charges, admitted illegally possessing a pistol when agents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Department of Community Supervision searched his residence Sept. 17, 2020.
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