Teen Accused Of Killing Allegedly Abusive Dad To Leave Jail For Treatment Facility
By Melissa Jeltsen
WARREN, Ohio ― For almost six months, Bresha Meadows has been locked up inside a juvenile detention facility, accused of killing her allegedly abusive father. She will soon get to leave jail, although she won’t be going home.
Trumbull County Juvenile Court Judge Pamela Rintala said Bresha, 15, will be transferred to an adolescent treatment facility for a mental health evaluation. Bresha’s lawyer, Ian Friedman, said that the transfer would happen “very soon,” and that he was pleased with the decision.
“I think this will be good for her, and instrumental in bringing this case to a conclusion,” he said.
A trial date was set for May 22, where Bresha will face a charge of aggravated murder. She has pleaded “not true,” which is equivalent to a not-guilty plea.
The courtroom was packed with Bresha’s supporters and family members, many wearing bright purple shirts with #StandWithBresha printed on them. Her older sister, Brianna, handed out tissues as they awaited the judge’s decision.
While many of her family members said they wanted her home as soon as possible, they expressed optimism that she will be out of jail and able to access mental health care.
“I’m ecstatic because she’s going to finally get the help she needs,” said her mother, Brandi Meadows. “It’s gotta be a better place; she will finally start healing.”
Scant details are known about the events immediately preceding the fatal July 28 shooting, when police say Bresha shot her father, 41-year-old Jonathan Meadows, in his sleep. But Bresha’s mother has plainly stated what she believes drove her daughter to pick up a gun: She was trying to save the rest of them from his abuse.
“She is my hero,” she said in an interview with Fox 8 Cleveland days after her husband’s death, describing him as a violent and controlling man who terrorized his family. “I wasn’t strong enough to get out and she helped us all.”
Jonathan Meadows’ family has denied that the killing had anything to do with abuse, and opposed Bresha’s release from custody.
Bresha’s case has garnered national attention, with anti-domestic violence and criminal justice reform advocates rallying to her side under the #FreeBresha campaign. In a statement released after Friday’s hearing, the #FreeBresha campaign said it was unjust to continue to detain Bresha, and called on prosecutors to drop the charges against her.