I-Team looks into backgrounds of suspects in murder of 9-year-old girl

CLEVELAND- The FOX 8 I-Team has been digging into the backgrounds of the suspects in the shooting death of 9-year-old Saniyah Nicholson, and we found two of the suspects have been in and out of juvenile court repeatedly as teen criminals.

Cleveland police have charged 19-year-old Devontae Nettles with murder. And, they’ve identified two 17-year-old suspects, plus, a 16-year-old.

The I-Team found Nettles had been hauled to juvenile court for more than a dozen cases. Some of the charges involved violence.

One 17-year-old arrested in the child’s murder has been hauled into court for well over a dozen criminal cases already. In fact, we discovered when he was arrested in this case, he was wanted on an unrelated charge for not showing up for court. That arrest warrant had been filed in connection to a case for carrying a concealed weapon.

No surprise anymore to see violent crimes involving teen suspects. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson says police have been working on the problem, and city hall has, too, through social programs. But the I-Team asked the mayor: How long will it be until we see an impact? He answered, in part, "And, as you know, what you prevent is probably the most difficult thing you can measure. What you look at is the trend." So the mayor believes the city is making progress.

But try convincing the family of Saniyah Nicholson. Try explaining how so many teen criminals get hauled into juvenile court only to get back on the streets and cause more trouble and pain.

Records show the 19-year-old was driving a vehicle, and someone riding with him got into a shootout with people on the street. The gunfire killed little Saniyah.

Two of the teen suspects have no record of criminal cases in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court.

The great-grandmother of one never expected her young relative to get caught up in this. She told the I-Team, "He's a Christian child. He goes to church. He goes to Bible school. As far as I know, he didn't hang out."

Investigators are still sorting out all that happened. They say they could make more arrests, too.

**Continuing coverage**