Police: Bullying was factor
CLEVELAND — A 15-year-old girl who had been bullied was stabbed to death during an attack by another teenager, police said.
Demesha Sharp was attacked Friday night while walking to a bus stop with siblings and friends. A sport utility vehicle appeared and tried to run them down, witnesses said.
The group inside the vehicle got out and approached Sharp’s group, assistant Prosecutor Carmen Naso said.
Lesleye Holliman, 17, attacked Sharp while her mother, Yulonda Holliman, 32, grandmother, Annetta Holliman, 60, and cousin, Anthony Holliman, 19, held Sharp’s party at bay using a variety of weapons, including stun guns, bats, bricks and knives, Naso said.
Lesleye Holliman, 17, appeared Monday in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court.
Prosecutors are seeking to have her tried as an adult on a charge of aggravated murder, Naso said. The girl’s family members were arrested for investigation of felonious assault in an attack on one of Sharp’s companions. None has been charged, said police spokesman Lt. Thomas Stacho.
The companion, Christian Hardick, 16, was struck by the vehicle and was listed in stable condition Monday at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital with stab wounds to his back.
Sharp’s mother, Shalinda Wagner, told The Plain Dealer that her daughter was a high school freshman who wanted to be a cheerleader and had been bullied by the suspect.
An after hours call to the juvenile court to determine if Lesleye Holliman had an attorney was not returned.
City Councilman Roosevelt Coats said the crime prompted outrage in the neighborhood and led to numerous tips to police — a change in an inner-city area where people often are hesitant to cooperate with law enforcement for fear of reprisals.
“That’s a change,” he said Monday. “Normally people are concerned and they don’t want to talk. That’s a major change.”
He said tipsters contacting police about the Sharp slaying provided the names, addresses and phone numbers of the suspects.
Neighbors “are ready to say, ‘This has got to end at all costs’,” the councilman said.
In another high-profile crime involving a child in Cleveland, two men were charged in last month’s shooting death of a 12-year-old girl caught in street crossfire.
There have been 13 children killed in Cleveland this year, according to homicide investigators, and arrests have been made in eight of the slayings.
Overall, the city has had 110 homicides this year.