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Ohio girl charged with murdering her father shot him to protect family from his abuse


A 14-year-old Ohio girl who shot her father dead in his sleep is her mother’s “hero” for ending the man’s abuse of the family, the mom said.

Brandi Meadows told WJW-TV on Thursday that her daughter Bresha “helped us all” when she used her dad Jonathan’s gun to shoot him in the head July 28 at the family’s home in Warren, 55 miles southeast of Cleveland. Jonathan Meadows beat his wife and kids and often threatened them with his .45-caliber handgun, according to Bresha’s lawyer and her family.

“I love her and she helped us all. She’s my hero, our hero,” Meadows, 41, said through tears. “I wasn’t strong enough to get out and she helped me.”

Bresha pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a charge of aggravated murder in juvenile court. She has been incarcerated in juvenile detention since the shooting.

ohio-girlTrumbull County Assistant Prosecutor Stanley Elkins said police and prosecutors are still investigating the slaying of the 41-year-old man. He asked anyone with information to contact Warren police, but he said he has only heard of the abuse allegations in news stories.

“I’m not finding any evidence of that,” Elkins said.

Brandi Meadows told the TV station she filed for a protective order against her husband five years ago, although she later dismissed it.

The girl’s aunt, Cleveland police Officer Martina Latessa, told WJW she reported the abuse to county child welfare services when Bresha ran away from home to her house in May.

ohio-girlBresha shot her father once in his head as he slept on a couch in the family’s living room with her mother asleep next to him on the floor, according to her lawyer, Ian Friedman.

The shooting “was the only opportunity she had to defend her family and her mother” in Bresha’s mind following abuse the previous day, Friedman said.

“This was a classic situation of a battered woman as it relates to mom,” he said. “The girl and her siblings witnessed this every day. It reached a point where it’s self-defense and defense of others.”

ohio-girlFriedman said he plans to cooperate with the investigation by prosecutors and police. The judge in her case scheduled a pretrial hearing for Aug. 30. Prosecutors haven’t decided whether they will ask for her to stand trial as an adult.