CLEVELAND – A 14-year-old Ohio girl fatally shot her father in the head as he slept to stop him from abusing her family, her attorney said Friday.
The girl denied a charge of aggravated murder on Wednesday in Trumbull County Juvenile Court. She has been held in juvenile detention since the early morning shooting on July 28 at her family's home in Warren, about 55 miles southeast of Cleveland.
"This was a classic situation of a battered woman as it relates to mom," said Cleveland attorney Ian Friedman. "The girl and her siblings witnessed this every day. It reached a point where it's self-defense and defense of others."
Prosecutors haven't determined if they will ask a judge to order the teen tried as an adult. Trumbull County Assistant Prosecutor Stanley Elkins said Friday that his office and police continue to investigate.
Asked about the abuse allegations, Elkins said he'd only heard about them from the media.
"I'm not finding any evidence of that," Elkins said.
The girl's 41-year-old mother told WJW-TV in Cleveland on Thursday that she filed for a protective order against her husband five years ago but later dismissed it. The mother called her daughter a hero for her actions.
The girl shot her 41-year-old father once in the head with his .45-caliber handgun as he slept on a living room couch and her mother sleeping on the floor next to her husband, Friedman said. He described the father as controlling and said he required his wife to constantly remain near him.
The shooting was a reaction to abuse that had occurred the previous day and evening, Friedman said. "In her mind, this was the only opportunity she had to defend her family and her mother."
The Associated Press generally does not name juveniles accused of crimes.
Two of the teen's siblings, a 20-year-old brother and a 19-year-old sister, were in the home when the shooting occurred, Friedman said.
A pretrial hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 30. Friedman said he would be cooperating with prosecutors in their investigation.