TOLEDO, Ohio — The family of DeAsia Green and community members gathered outside of the Lucas County Juvenile Court Wednesday morning to advocate for the 15-year-old charged with her death to be tried as an adult, just before his court hearing.
The body of Green, also 15, was found on Jan. 9 in an alley near Page Street in north Toledo. Weeks after she was found, her loved ones continue to search for answers and call for justice.
Andre Autman, Green's stepfather, wants to ensure no more youths are killed or harmed by violent crime.
"I'm here to seek justice for my daughter and to make sure they do the right thing," Autman said.
Green's family wants to see the 15-year-old suspect convicted of her homicide. On Wednesday, a new court date for the suspect was scheduled for Feb. 10.
Andrew Lastra, an assistant prosecutor for the Lucas County Prosecutor's Office, said a longer sentence that carries over into adulthood is being considered for the 15-year-old because of the type of crime and the gun involved.
Green's family also wants to hold the juvenile justice system responsible. Autman said Green had been to jail multiple times but received slaps on the wrist from the juvenile justice system instead of harsher punishments.
"My daughter wouldn't be in this situation, (but) they kept letting her in and out of jail and she kept running," Autman said. "We were crying out for help and they weren't helping us. So, I'm holding them responsible too."
Green's family and local prosecutors are considering how to help teenagers who are involved with dangerous people and groups turn their lives around before they get hurt or killed.
Lastra said he believes the system can and does fail children.
He said courts cannot imprison a juvenile without felonies.
"We can preach from a court system's standpoint, from the judges, the magistrates, misdemeanor services, the probation department," Lastra said. "But if it's falling on deaf ears, we can only do what we can do."
Lastra said stopping youth violence begins by preventing crimes before they happen.
"There are by and large good kids who are doing terribly bad things and we can figure out what is motivating them to do that," he said.
Autman agreed, saying a larger focus needs to be placed on the mental health of youths in Toledo and improved mental health services.