WARREN, Ohio– It’s been more than three years since Bresha Meadows, now 18, shot and killed her father.
She was 14 years old when she pulled the trigger and shot him. She told the FOX 8 I-Team that she needed to end the years of sexual abuse she endured and wanted to save her mother.
“He physically abused her, I really thought she was going to die,” Meadows said Thursday as she sat next to her attorney Ian Friedman. “I was trying to help all of us. Me, my brother and sister, my mom, all of us. I really thought my mother was going to die.”
She was arrested by Warren police shortly after the July 2016 death of her father, Jonathan Meadows.
In May 2017 she pleaded “true,” the juvenile court equivalent to guilty, to a reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter. She was incarcerated for more than a year.
Dr. Kathleen Heide, PH.D testified at the sentencing saying she believed Bresha Meadows lived in an abusive home. Her mother, Brandi, also told the court that Jonathan Meadows was abusive. She said Bresha is her hero.
Bresha said she did tell others of the abuse and ran away from home more than once.
“I did speak out quite often. It’s just nobody listened, nobody cared,” Bresha said.
Jonathan Meadows’ sister disagreed with the allegations and stressed at the time of Bresha’s sentencing that her brother was not abusive.
“That hurt me because they knew, people knew,” Bresha said. “I really never thought I would go to jail after the shooting. I thought they would understand. It was self defense. Between watching my mom get abused and the sexual abuse, it just kind of you know, too much.”
She said her dad was sleeping when she got the gun from under his pillow. She said she doesn’t remember much else.
“I pictured myself maybe ending up killing myself from depression. And my mom passing on and my brother and sister old enough to leave, and then it would just be me in the house and Lord knows how that would turn out,” Bresha said. “It was a lot.”
Her attorney said no one should have to go through what Bresha did.
“She is a good person,” Friedman said.
She is now slowly rebuilding her life. She is continuing with counseling and graduated high school in the spring. She has started speaking to organizations and reaching out to domestic violence survivors.
“I just want to help people in the same situation,” Bresha said. “And help myself while helping others.”