Suspect in Child’s Murder No Stranger to Crime

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The man accused of shooting a mother and daughter, killing the girl, is scheduled to appear in court Thursday morning.

A memorial continues to grow on Crossburn Avenue, across the street from where 5-year-old Jermani Brooks was shot in the head and killed Sunday night.

Her mother, Noni Brooks, 33, continues to recover at MetroHealth Medical Center. She was also shot in the head and at last check was listed in good condition.

Police say the person who pulled the trigger is Geoffrey Gurkovich, 32. Investigators say the Brooks family was not the intended target.

"The girlfriend of the suspect had some type of verbal altercation with a male. The suspect went looking for this particular individual, knew where they lived or where they would be, decided to get out of his vehicle, fired numerous rounds," said Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath during a Tuesday afternoon news conference.

Gurkovich’s girlfriend told Fox 8 that he is innocent and would never even hurt a fly.

According to court documents, Gurkovich is no stranger to crime.

In 2002, he pleaded guilty to domestic violence. In 2003, he was convicted of felonious assault, unlawful restraint and domestic violence. He was also convicted of domestic violence in 2006, and pleaded guilty to charges including escape and domestic violence in 2009.

Fox 8 has obtained a letter that Gurkovich wrote to Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge Kathleen Sutula in 2010 asking to be let out of prison early.

In it, he said, "I am very much ashamed of my conduct, and will do my best to improve myself in the future...if given the chance, I will not fail. I want more than anything to do the right thing."

He goes on to say, "I will not let myself go back to my old ways."

Gurkovich was not released early in that case.

In an earlier letter written in 2008, he said, "I have had a problem abusing substances for some time now" and "I am a father of three children."

A vigil will be held for Jermani Thursday night, which would have been her sixth birthday.

A fund has been set up in her memory. Donations can be made at any Key Bank.

Read other stories on the shooting.

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