School shooting victim's family agreed to shooter's plea deal

6:17 PM, Nov 29, 2011   |    comments
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  • Ryan McDonald was fatally shot on August 21, 2008 in Central High School's cafeteria. He was 15.

Jamar Siler was set for trial next Monday, after months of delays, but on Monday his victim, Ryan McDonald's family, met with the District Attorney and decided to accept a plea deal.

Though tough, McDonald's family says they wanted to move on.

Siler plead guilty to second degree murder for shooting and killing then 15 year-old Ryan McDonald. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

For McDonald's family, they don't know if 30 years is enough, but they are glad this chapter has come to an end.

Ryan McDonald as a happy 15 year-old is frozen in his uncle's mind.

Roger McDonald said, "I never thought about him being gone."

Roger remembers the call on August 21, 2008. He was told Ryan was shot.

The shooter, 15 year-old Jamar Siler, was arrested.

What transpired after that is three and a half years of court dates and delays and the family wondering, why?

"We do have questions of what led him to come in there and shoot Ryan," explained Roger.

On Monday, the McDonalds got a call to meet with the DA.

Siler agreed to plead guilty to second degree murder.

The family had to decide if they would accept it. After discussing the options, they agreed.

Roger McDonald said, "It did make it easier to know it was done, because I didn't want my mom to have to go through trial and sit and listen to things she didn't need to hear or see."

Roger struggled with whether they made the right decision, but Tuesday morning he was at peace. He faced Siler and read to the judge a statement, "Our family has a hole in it."

Siler's attorney tried to claim Jamar had fetal alcohol syndrome. He won't be eligible for parole for more than two decades.

Ryan's aunt and uncle have started a toy drive in honor of their nephew. You can drop off a toy at bins at Knoxville area Ingles Markets.


Jamar Siler, the teenager charged with shooting and killing a fellow Central High School student in 2008, pleaded guilty Tuesday morning.

Siler was charged with first degree murder in the death of 15-year-old Ryan McDonald .  His trial was scheduled to begin on December 5. 

According to the Knox County Criminal Court Clerk's office, Siler pleaded guilty to 2nd degree murder in exchange for 30 years in prison.

Siler was 15 when he shot and killed McDonald in the cafeteria of Central High School. He was going to be  tried as an adult.

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