In July 2016, then 14-year-old Bresha Meadows was arrested for allegedly shooting and killing her father, Jonathan Meadows, a man who family members, including Bresha's mother, said had been physically and emotionally abusive for decades.
On Monday, after spending the last nine months in Trumbull County Juvenile Detention Center, awaiting trial on aggravated murder charges, prosecutors offered the 15-year-old a plea deal. If accepted, Bresha's charges would be reduced to involuntary manslaughter and she would serve a total of 18 months, including time served, at an in-patient mental health facility, receiving treatment for PTSD, anxiety and depression, according to Huffington Post. Her record would be sealed and expunged when she turns 18.
“There has been too much trauma here,” Bresha's lawyer, Ian Friedman, said on Monday. “A treatment sentence would meet the desires of the family, and we as counsel would be comfortable with it as well.”
Friedman has argued that Bresha acted in self-defense. Her mother, Brandi Meadows, filed a civil domestic violence protection order against her husband, telling authorities she feared for her life and the lives of her children.
“In the 17 years of our marriage he has cut me, broke my ribs, fingers, the blood vessels in my hand, my mouth, blackened my eyes. I believe my nose was broken,” she said at the time the protection order was filed. “If he finds us, I am 100 percent sure he will kill me and the children.”
Speaking to The FADER in January, Mariame Kaba, an abolitionist who has been working to gain Bresha's freedom and spreading awareness about the case through the #FreeBresha campaign, said that the 15-year-old does not deserve punishment. "What she needs is the ability to be able to heal from all the trauma that she experienced prior to ending up in jail," Kaba said. "She needs to be with her family. She needs to find a way to be able to heal and talk through what happened to her."
"We maintain that being forced to be at a facility is not freedom and it is not care," The #FreeBresha campaign wrote in a statement on Monday. "Bresha’s plea deal does nothing to transform the systemic failures that led to her imprisonment."