Bresha Meadows takes plea deal, expected release in 2018
The court proceedings that spurred the #FreeBresha movement have come to a close. Bresha Meadows‘s supporters, including her family and attorneys, attested that she shot her abusive father in an act of self-defense. To reunite with her family, she’s made a deal that could see her return home much sooner.
Meadows, 15, has accepted a plea of “true” to a reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of her father. She was sentenced to one year and a day in the custody of the Department of Youth Services, including time already served, and six months at a mental health facility, according to WFMJ.
“Today is a good day,” Bresha said while hugging her family after the hearing.
To date, the teenager has been in custody for 10 months. Given her time in custody so far, NBC reports that she’s set to be transferred to the Bellfaire JCB residential treatment center on July 29th for mental health treatment.
Despite multiple claims of abuse from her mother, Bresha was initially facing charges of aggravated murder and was at risk of being charged as an adult.
“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,” Brandi Meadows wrote. “If he finds us, I am 100 percent sure he will kill me and the children…My life is like living in a box he created for me, and if I stepped out of that box, he’s there to put me back in that box.”
Anti-domestic violence activists argued that Meadows shouldn’t have remained in custody even this long. They felt that her story reflected a narrative where survivors of domestic violence, including young ones, are punished for defending themselves and protecting their lives. Regardless, Meadows’ family view the plea deal as a reason to celebrate.
“She smiled today, and for the first time you really felt that smile was genuine. She started to talk about her future for the first time,” said defense attorney Ian Friedman. “And she’s pleased to know that her case may help other kids in her same situation.”