Bresha Meadows accepts plea to reduced charges in death of her f - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

UPDATED

Bresha Meadows accepts plea to reduced charges in death of her father

Posted: Updated:
Bresha Meadows Bresha Meadows
WARREN, Ohio -

It's a case that has captured international attention with a "Free Bresha" campaign.

Now a plea deal has been reached in the case of the Warren teen who shot and killed her father as he slept.

Bresha Meadows pled "true" to a reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter, the equivalent of pleading guilty in adult court.

Meadows was originally charged with aggravated murder with a gun specification for the 2016 death of her father 41-year-old Jonathan Meadows.

The shooting happened at the family's Warren home.

Monday's plea agreement will no doubt make the Meadows' case legally precedent setting.

Meadows, who is now 15-years-old, was sentenced by Trumbull County Juvenile Court Judge Pamela Rintala to serve one year and one day in the juvenile detention center on the gun specification.  She was also ordered to serve six months at an in-patient mental health facility in Shaker Heights.

The teen will receive credit for time served and could be back home with her family by the end of January.

Meadows cried as the defense told the judge, "Bresha grew up in an environment where every adult failed her."

Dr. Kathleen Heide, a criminologist who has published four books on parricide offenders (children who kill their parents), recently met with Bresha and found supporting evidence. She says that the girls' father used alcohol and drugs and her mother abused alcohol and marijuana.

The 15-year-old told her attorney when he met her for the first time that she remembered her finger on the trigger the night her father was shot and killed, but she doesn't recall firing the gun.

Her family is relieved the case didn't go to trial and the teen's aunt. Martina Latessa a Cleveland police officer who works domestic violence cases, tells 21 News, "Bresha Meadows is a domestic violence survivor and I will say that forever.  She is not a cold calculated killer.  We don't know if it will be six months (of mental health treatment) or if she needs more.  We're okay with that.  Like the best thing is just to get Bresha Meadows back to the little girl she could have been and should have been."

But the family of Jonathan Meadows feels as if someone got away with murder.  

His sister calls allegations of domestic violence against the shooting victim "character assassination." 

Lena Cooper is the victim's sister, "It's not fair that they can say whatever they want to say and my brother's not here to defend himself because we know that he did not sexually abuse his daughter.  Personally, for my family, it's not over.  There's still a lot of unanswered questions."

Prosecutors say this is the first time they are even hearing about allegations of sexual abuse against the teenager who fidgetted as she prepared to be sentenced.

Stanley Elkins, who is the juvenile prosecutor, says they had no choice but to cut a deal in the case because Bresha's family members kept changing their story.

"The things that they said that night right after it happened and what they're saying now are two different things.  What you have to understand is those were our witnesses.  Those were the people that witnessed the shooting and now they're changing their testimony.  Had we gone to trial we would have had an opportunity to impeach our own witnesses and in doing that we would have added to the chance that the judge would have said I don't believe anything they have to say and she could have just walked free altogether," Elkins said.

The prosecutor also accused the family of putting out a lot of misinformation during the legal process that the public believed as fact when in reality it was not fact he said.

"One of the things that they said is that he abused Bresha, and we have statements from them that night that he never even spanked her.  You know they made statements that the guns were in Brandi's name (the victim's wife) because he was a convicted felon.  He is not a convicted felon."

But the defense argues this case has taken the best course, ending in treatment for a child he believes saw no way out.

Defense Attorney Ian Friedman believes Bresha's case will be a model for other children charged in similar cases.

"What this case stands for, and I hope that this case is used coast to coast, is when everybody slows down, they slow down and they say wait a second, why did this child do this and more importantly what is the best way to help this child,"  Friedman said.

When the prosecutor was asked if he believed she lived in an abusive home Elkins said, "We'll never know the truth."

  • More From wfmj.comHot ClicksMore>>

  • Mother of girl declared dead twice slams doctors at funeral

    Mother of girl declared dead twice slams doctors at funeral

    Wednesday, July 11 2018 3:52 PM EDT2018-07-11 19:52:14 GMT
    (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File). FILE - In this Dec. 23, 2015, file photo, a photo of Jahi McMath is shown on a video screen next to her uncle Timothy Whisenton at a news conference in San Francisco. The mother of a girl at the center of a medical and relig...(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File). FILE - In this Dec. 23, 2015, file photo, a photo of Jahi McMath is shown on a video screen next to her uncle Timothy Whisenton at a news conference in San Francisco. The mother of a girl at the center of a medical and relig...
    Dozens of family members, friends and other mourners have filed into a Northern California church for the funeral of a teenage girl at the center of a medical and religious debate over brain death.More >>
    Dozens of family members, friends and other mourners have filed into a Northern California church for the funeral of a teenage girl at the center of a medical and religious debate over brain death.More >>
  • Study provides clues to fate of early North American dogs

    Study provides clues to fate of early North American dogs

    Monday, July 9 2018 8:28 PM EDT2018-07-10 00:28:18 GMT
    (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File). FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2016, file photo, a xoloitzcuintli is shown in the ring during the non-sporting group competition at the140th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, at Madison Square Garden in New York. A new study pu...(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File). FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2016, file photo, a xoloitzcuintli is shown in the ring during the non-sporting group competition at the140th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, at Madison Square Garden in New York. A new study pu...
    New study provides clues to fate of early North American dogs that were all but wiped out after the arrival of Europeans.More >>
    New study provides clues to fate of early North American dogs that were all but wiped out after the arrival of Europeans.More >>
  • Buddhist meditation may calm team trapped in Thai cave

    Buddhist meditation may calm team trapped in Thai cave

    Monday, July 9 2018 6:36 PM EDT2018-07-09 22:36:34 GMT
    (Tham Luang Rescue Operation Center via AP, File). FILE - In this handout photo released by Tham Luang Rescue Operation Center, Thai rescue teams use headlamps to enter a pitch-black cave complex where 12 boys and their soccer coach went missing, in Ma...(Tham Luang Rescue Operation Center via AP, File). FILE - In this handout photo released by Tham Luang Rescue Operation Center, Thai rescue teams use headlamps to enter a pitch-black cave complex where 12 boys and their soccer coach went missing, in Ma...
    The soccer coach stranded with 12 boys in a flooded Thai cave spent a decade as a Buddhist monk, honing a meditation skill that may serve him well during their ordeal.More >>
    The soccer coach stranded with 12 boys in a flooded Thai cave spent a decade as a Buddhist monk, honing a meditation skill that may serve him well during their ordeal.More >>
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms