FLORIDA CITY, FLA. (WSVN) - - The parents of a 13-year-old girl who was shot and killed by her 17-year-old stepbrother in Florida City are now fighting to retain custody of their nine other children, but a judge ruled they will be staying with other family members for the time being.
7News cameras captured Martin Santiago as he walked out of a courthouse in Miami, Thursday afternoon. Martin’s son, Martaevious Santiago, is accused of killing his stepsister, Tedra King, inside their home, Tuesday night.
Martin and the children’s stepfather, Vernon Williams, appeared in family court. “This might seem a little sterile, but to the family, I offer condolences,” said the presiding judge.
Police said Martaevious was playing with a gun on his 17th birthday when he pulled the trigger, shooting King in the head. Martaevious called 911, but his stepsister was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police arrested Martaevious and charged him with manslaughter.
Now his nine siblings are waiting to learn when they’ll be able to go home. The judge decided the kids will be split between three family members while the Florida Department of Children and Families figure out their next steps.
“I’m glad that the family stepped up to take care of the children,” said Tarlesha Smith, Williams’ attorney. “We don’t want to see anyone in foster care. It’s an unfortunate situation for all parties involved.”
The state attorney’s office is building a case to charge Martaevious as an adult. He will remain in secure detention until his next hearing in May.
Meanwhile, outside of the family court, Williams said he will try everything he can to keep the family together. “Yes, I want the kids back as soon as possible,” he said.
A memorial for King is set to start at her Florida Home at 7 p.m.
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