Over 6,000 people have signed a petition calling for the release from child custody of a 15-year-old girl accused of killing her father.
Bresha Meadows is accused of shooting Jonathan Meadows July 28, but her defenders say she acted in self-defense, media reports say.
Jonathan was allegedly an abusive father.
“As a child impacted by extreme violence, Bresha needs a safe and supportive environment to heal and rebuild,” the petition reads, according to the Huffington Post. “Bresha should be released immediately and not have to endure the re-traumatization of prosecution and incarceration.”
Brandi, Bresha’s mother, described Jonathan as extremely violent. She said she had visited the emergency room between 15 and 20 times over the years because of his outbursts.
“She took the only step that she could, in her mind, to save her mother’s life and that of her siblings,” said Ian Friedman, Bresha’s attorney.
Friedman believes that the incident was “a clear self-defense scenario.”
Brandi agreed with Friedman.
“I believe she was trying to help our whole family get out of the box that he put us in,” Brandi added to Cleveland.com. “I believe that she saved all of us.”
This version of events has been disputed by Jonathan’s family.
“This was not a family living in fear,” said Lena Cooper, Jonathan’s sister. “My brother is being crucified for something that happened years ago. There is no evidence of recent abuse. We talked with the authorities, and they said there [were] no signs of abuse.”
Cooper said that Jonathan was sleeping when he was shot.
“It was murder,” she said. “But I don’t want my niece to get life in prison. I want her to get help.”
Brandi was asked why she did not try to escape the home earlier. She responded that she feared retaliation from Jonathan.
“You name it, he did it,” Brandi added. “Mentally, physically, emotionally.”
Brandi filed a restraining order against Jonathan in 2011, but said she later dropped it.
“He made me drop it,” she added. “He told me what needed to be said to get it dropped.”
Bresha will remain in custody at least until Oct. 6, when her next pre-trial hearing is due.
If Bresha is found guilty, a court could sentence her to life imprisonment, meaning she would not be eligible for parole for 20 years.