The Ohio teen who shot and killed her abusive father saw supporters cheering after Bresha Meadows completed her court-ordered stay at a mental health facility Sunday and is finally brought home.
Bresha Meadows’ case attracted nationwide attention last year and sparked discussion about the plight of black women and girls in the criminal justice system when they claim self-defense.
Meadows was 14 on July 28, 2016 when she fatally shot her father Jonathan in the head while he was asleep on the couch, with the gun that she and her siblings claimed he often threatened and severely beat them and their mother with.
Her mother Brandi called the little girl a hero.
“I believe that she saved all of us,” she said.
Bresha potentially faced life behind bars after prosecutors sought to try her as an adult with an aggravated murder charge, but ultimately she was tried as a child and just last May, pleased true to a charge of involuntary manslaughter; the equivalent of a guilty in juvenile court.
She was sentenced to a year in juvenile detention, with credit for time served, as well as six months at a mental health facility and two years of probation. On Sunday, she was released into her family’s care.
“She lived a life no child, no adult, no human being should ever have to endure,” her attorney Ian Friedman said in court. “She grew up in an environment where every adult failed her. … This did not have to happen.”
Now 16, the nation’s attention was brought to Bresha’s case because of the #FreeBresha initiative, which advocated on behalf of the teen after her arrest, raising money and calling on prosecutors to drop the case against a girl that they believe simply acted out of desperation to escape the everyday brutality of their father.
“Bresha should never have been incarcerated, but it is a win nonetheless,” two of the organizers, Colby Lenz and Mariame Kaba, wrote in an op-ed welcoming the teen home. “The punishment system was unsuccessful in disappearing this young Black woman.”
Read more about the case here.