Cleveland murder victim's family questions why suspect was out on bond

Celebrating memory of Breanna Fluitt
Posted at 6:23 PM, Aug 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-25 18:44:36-04

Friends and family of Breanna Nicole Fluitt gathered to celebrate her memory Thursday night, praying for justice and asking why her alleged killer was out of jail in the first place. 

Breanna Fluitt,17, was found dead in East Cleveland Saturday morning with a gunshot wound. 

On Tuesday, East Cleveland police raided a home on the east side of Cleveland, arresting 19-year-old Jesean Woods on a warrant for aggravated murder. 

“She was a happy, funny, crazy person,” said Fluitt’s god-sister Cheyenne Hale. “And he just left her there to die. He just left her there and he didn’t care.”  

Hale said Fluitt was excited to start her senior year of high school. She broke down in tears looking at her picture printed on a memorial t-shirt that read “Rest in Heaven, Our Baby Breanna, We Love You.” 

“I’m so happy that everybody came together and helped because it’s not just her. It’s so many other women — families losing people,” she said. “And I never thought I was going to be part of it.” 

Hale and her family also wonder why Woods was out of jail in the first place, given that he had pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery and felonious assault charges earlier this summer and was awaiting his sentencing. 

“Are they just giving people slaps on the wrists?” Hale said. “And then when something really really happens and they think well we should have did something.” 

Woods failed to appear in court once before his plea. Then during the presentencing investigation, he failed to appear for a probation hearing. A warrant was issued for his arrest but he remained out of jail until Tuesday, when he was arrested for new charges of aggravated murder. 

Case Western Reserve University Senior Law Instructor Michael Benza told that the procedure was standard, but the outcome was atypical. 

“Any of these decisions where someone is not going into jail or into prison — the worst thing to happen is they commit something like an aggravated murder,” Benza said. 

He said that most of the time the bond system works during the course of a legal case. 

When Woods violated his probation, his bond was revoked. But Benza said it is difficult for the court to seek out all capias defendants one-by-one. 

“Quite frankly, in the process of getting that warrant executed there’s so many of these things going on that going after any one person at any one time is really not feasible,” he explained. 

Suspects are more likely picked up during the course of traffic violations, he said, not arrest for aggravated murder.  

Fluitt’s family held a vigil Thursday night and the teen’s funeral is set for Friday.