CLEVELAND - The FOX 8 I TEAM has found a suspect in the death of 9-year-old Saniyah Nicholson had a record of 21 criminal cases even before he reached the age of 18 years old.
This marks the third suspect in the case with an outrageous juvenile record, so we’re asking what’s being done about the system.
Cleveland Police say several juveniles and young adults got into a shootout last week on the street, and a stray bullet hit and killed little Saniyah.
Last week, we revealed one suspect had a juvenile rap sheet of 14 cases. The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor says a 17 year old had 16 cases before this. And now, the prosecutor says another suspect had more than 20 cases.
The I TEAM went to the home of one suspect. A woman threatened us, and a man said, "He ain't been in no trouble. He's charged with something he ain't do man."
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said, "Clearly, we have to put an end to this senseless youth violence.”
O’Malley has been working to have more violent juveniles put on trial in adult court for more punishment. But he and Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court officials are also working together to set up what they refer to as an Assessment Center.
In short, juvenile suspects will be evaluated for mental health issues, criminal records and more when they come in contact with juvenile court. That way, the Court can get the teens help in addition to handing out any punishment.
O’Malley said, "We have to look at what are we doing at the beginning, and how can we better handle these individuals, and how can we prevent this kind of senseless violence."
The County hopes to have the new systems in place by the end of the year. O’Malley says grant money will help pay for it.
Maybe too late for Saniyah, but it could help save others.
Oddly, in this case, police have had the most trouble finding a 16-year-old suspect, and records show he had no criminal record before this.