15-Year-Old Boy Pleads Guilty to Shooting 13-Year-Old in the Head During Sleepover

By Zachary Stieber

A 15-year-old boy pleaded guilty to fatally shooting a 13-year-old boy during a sleepover in Illinois on May 4.

Jaden Krauss, 13, was shot in the head early that Sunday and rushed to the hospital, where he was placed on a ventilator, according to Danielle Hartrup, writing on a GoFundMe fundraiser for Jaden’s mother.

The boy was pronounced dead on May 7.

The 15-year-old who shot Krauss pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Marion County Court on May 14, reported the Bellevue News-Democrat. Because the plea was entered in a juvenile court, no other details about it were made public. The teen will be sentenced on June 26 and is being held until then.

Jaden Krauss (R), with his mother, Jaianna, in a file photo. (Love for Jaden and Jaianna/GoFundMe)

Police officials said that an investigation into what happened is ongoing.

“There’s still things we want answers to,” Centralia Police Chief Brian Atchison said. “This is still very much an active investigation.”

Four other juveniles who were inside the house were questioned but later released. They were all questioned again on another day but none were charged.

“We’re not ruling out anything,” Atchinson said. “We’re looking at the whole case, not just that one person’s involvement. There’s more parts of this case.”

Marion County State’s Attorney Bill Milner told WJBD that the 15-year-old was arrested after being questioned with an attorney present. The other kids had attorneys present during their questioning as well, he said.

The Southern Illinois Child Death Investigation Task Force is assisting the Centralia Police Department in the investigation.

Mother Upset

Jaianna Grant, the victim’s mother, said that the one teen being charged isn’t the end of the case and is holding out hope that the probe uncovers everything that happened.

“It’s really not that much. I keep hearing that more charges might come after this, but I feel like they are satisfied with this kid that he admitted that he did it,” Grant told KSDK. “There’s other people that are responsible that also need to be investigated. I want answers, I want answers.”

Grant said the group that was with her son on that fateful night wasn’t close with him and they knew each other through going to the same school.

She said she was in Memphis when her son called her and asked if he could attend the sleepover. She said yes.

“I said that was fine, and I really wish I wouldn’t have said yes,” she told KMOV. “I have a lot of guilt myself.”

Grant has been struggling to deal with the loss.

“I don’t have him, he’s never going to grow,” she said, holding Jaden’s picture. “This is all I’m going to be able to look at for the rest of my life.”

According to Jaden’s obituary, he attended Centralia Junior High School.

He enjoyed running track, playing video games, and making videos for his YouTube channel, it said. “He loved spending time with his girlfriend, Haylee, his family, and friends. Jaden had a big heart and would accept anyone for who they were and his legacy will live on through the organ donor recipients,” the obituary stated.