Updated Monday, May 22, 3:02 p.m. EDT: Bresha
Meadows, 15, entered a plea of “true” Monday before a Trumbull County, Ohio, juvenile judge to a reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of her father.
Bresha Meadows, 15, has been offered a plea deal and could be released from jail in less than a year, HuffPost’s Melissa Jeltsen reports.As previously reported by The Root, Bresha stands accused of aggravated murder in the 2016 death of her father, Jonathan Meadows.
Bresha’s mother, Brandi Meadows, and her aunt Martina Latessa, have repeatedly said that Jonathan Meadows was a violent man who, for years, physically, psychologically and emotionally abused Bresha’s siblings and her mother.
According to HuffPost:
Under the proposed deal, Bresha would serve a total of 18 months, taking into account the nine months she has already spent in jail, her lawyer Ian Friedman said. She’d spend the remaining time at an in-patient mental health care facility, and her record would be sealed and then expunged, he said.
“There has been too much trauma here,” Friedman said. “A treatment sentence would meet the desires of the family, and we as counsel would be comfortable with it as well.
Jonathan Meadows’ family denies that he was abusive. Despite extensive research and the lived reality of victims of intimate-partner violence who have difficulty leaving abusive relationships, Jonathan Meadows’ sister Lena Cooper asserted that if he was violent, Brandi should have just left the home.
“My brother was a good man,” Cooper said in 2016, according to WFMJ. “He loved his family. He loved his children. He loved his wife.”
Cooper also called her niece, who has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety and major depression, a “murderer.”
“[Bresha] had ran away from home because she was doing things that a 14-year-old should not be doing. So she’s not a hero; she’s a murderer. She killed my brother. This was cold, calculated. He was killed in his sleep, and the family is doing everything they can to discredit my brother. And it’s not fair,” Cooper said.
Jonathan Meadows’ family admitted that there was one domestic violence incident in 2011 but claims that it was in the “past.”
“In the 17 years of our marriage, he has cut me, broke my ribs, fingers, the blood vessels in my hand, my mouth, blackened my eyes. I believe my nose was broken,” Brandi Meadows said in a police report. “If he finds us, I am 100 percent sure he will kill me and the children. ... My life is like living in a box he created for me, and if I stepped out of that box, he’s there to put me back in that box.”
The restraining order was eventually dismissed when Bresha’s mother and father reconciled.
Research shows that about 4,000 women die each year because of domestic violence. Of the total number of domestic violence homicides, about 75 percent of the victims were killed as they attempted to leave the relationship or after the relationship had ended.
“She is my hero,” Brandi Meadows said of Bresha after the 2016 shooting. “I wasn’t strong enough to get out, and she helped us all.”
Trumbull County Family Court Judge Pamela Rintala ruled over the weekend that Bresha should remain incarcerated until her trial, which was scheduled for May 22, which is now the date of the final pretrial.
“Today was a very positive day for Bresha,” Bresha’s attorney Brad Wolfe said to The Root. “The prosecutor has offered a treatment-oriented plea deal which would involve a resolution under the umbrella of ‘involuntary manslaughter.’ We are actively working out the exact terms of the offer, and although we hope that a mutual agreement is forthcoming, we are prepared for trial if necessary.
“Should a new trial date be needed, it would be decided [on May 22],” Wolfe continued. “We are pleased that the prosecutor has expressed the need for Bresha to receive treatment.”
As Wolfe told The Root Thursday, it is critical for Bresha to be released so that she can receive appropriate medical and mental treatment.
The Women’s March on Washington, Ohio chapter, held a rally in support of Bresha on Monday at the Trumbull County Family Court Center. Supporters organized under the following pledge:
We are here today for the liberation of 15-year-old Bresha Meadows, who fought for herself, for her family, who survived in the face of abuse, in the face of systemic patriarchy and racism and misogyny and all the forces that seek to criminalize Black girls, women and femmes. Bresha survived. And now she is being punished for her own survival.
When we signed the Pledge of Liberation, we signed a commitment to disrupt cycles of violence that the criminal justice system perpetuates. We signed a commitment to defend each other from state violence — including the state violence of our prison system. We signed a commitment to provide support for young people in crisis. We signed a commitment to build a world in which all women, girls, femmes, and people are free.
We proudly signed that commitment. We proudly gather in support of Bresha today, and we add one more commitment to our Pledge of Liberation: We pledge to love, fight for, support, and protect you, Bresha. We pledge that we are by your side, in your corner, and we will remain here. We have nothing to lose but all of our chains. Let’s get Bresha free. And together, let’s all get free.”
Read more at HuffPost.