Family Says 14-Year-Old Girl Shot Father to Protect Mother, Siblings

Bresha Meadows / Screenshot from YouTube
August 9, 2016

The family of a 14-year-old Ohio girl who shot and killed her father said last week she was acting in the defense of her family.

Bresha Meadows allegedly shot her father, Jonathan Meadows, 41, as he slept on the couch in their Warren, Ohio home on July 28th. Bresha now faces aggravated murder charges, although her family said her actions were justified because she was trying to protect them.

"She is my hero; I wasn’t strong enough to get out and she helped me," Brandi Meadows, 14-year-old Bresha’s mother, told the local Fox 8 affiliate on Thursday. "I am so sorry she had to go through this. She is my hero. She helped me; she helped all of us so we could have a better life."

Bresha’s aunt said Jonathan Meadows was abusive towards Brandi, Bresha, and the rest of the couple’s children for years leading up to the shooting. She also gave local CBS affiliate WKBN documents that show Bresha reported the abuse to authorities in May and her mother had contacted police about Jonathan Meadows’ alleged domestic abuse in 2011.

"Possessive and abusive. He controlled her, and it was like she was in jail–18 years worth of jail," Sheri Latessa, Bresha’s aunt, told WKBN. "They’ve all been through it, and nobody in that county would help, that we called, would do anything. She told on him, and nobody would do anything. She did what supposed to do, and nobody helped her."

The lawyer representing Bresha said the previous incidents of domestic violence, coupled with abuse he said occurred the day before the shooting, drove Bresha to shoot her father. He said the gun involved was technically owned by her mother because her father was a felon who could not legally possess a firearm but was used by the father to intimidate the family.

"This was a classic situation of a battered woman as it relates to mom," Bresha’s attorney Ian Friedman told the Associated Press. "The girl and her siblings witnessed this every day. It reached a point where it’s self-defense and defense of others."

"In her mind, this was the only opportunity she had to defend her family and her mother."

Despite the documents obtained by WKBN, prosecutors said they were unaware of the accusations of domestic violence and would continue to pursue the murder investigation.

"I’m not finding any evidence of that," Trumbull County Assistant Prosecutor Stanley Elkins said about the accusations of abuse.