MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A judge has decided what will happen to seven siblings living in a Florida City home after a teenager was shot and killed by her older brother.
The seven other children who were living in the home will be allowed to live with family members.
Judge Orlando Prescott ruled that the kids could stay with aunts and other family members under DCF supervision. Their fathers will be allowed state-supervised visitation twice a week and the judge offered his condolences to the families.
The ruling inside the Miami-Dade County Children’s Courthouse comes one day after 17-year-old Martaevious Santiago was charged with aggravated manslaughter in the death of his 13-year-old sister Teddra King.
Santiago claimed he shot his sister in the back of the head by accident Tuesday night while playing around on his birthday.
Teddra, who was known as Rosie, was a student at Homestead Middle School.
Vernon Williams, King’s stepfather, had been caring for her and her brother, as well as the seven other children at the home at N.W. 4th Avenue and N.W. 16th Street. Williams is the father of five of the children. They will be allowed to stay with two different aunts and the state has conducted home studies.
Outside the courthouse, Williams told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “For everything that happened, I am grateful. I do feel terrible about what happened and I am sorry about what happened. I hope to get my kids back. I can’t explain it. It makes me get all choked up. I want to get my kids back as soon as possible,” he said. “I wanted to say something to the judge after he gave his condolences but I realize that is not normally done. It does hurt to see my kids walk away.”
His sister, Tarlesha Smith, who represented Williams at the hearing, said, “Judge Prescott is a good judge and he looks after the children all the time. I am glad that family members have stepped up to take care of the kids. I don’t want to see anyone in foster care. It’s unfortunate for all parties involved but we are saddened for Teddra King, her father, as well. No one mentioned his name and he is not an absentee father.”
They had much in common.
“Both of us lost our father due to gun violence,” she said. “Our father was murdered in 1984. He was killed in the same sort of situation, so we feel very close to this. But I am happy to see the children being taken care of. This was an unfortunate set of circumstances.”
Martin Santiago, who is the biological father of three of the children, including the accused shooter Martaevious Santiago, declined to say anything.
“I have no comment,” he told D’Oench as he left the courthouse.
Judge Prescott ruled that one of Santiago’s sons can stay with an aunt, and another son who is currently hospitalized will be allowed to stay with another aunt when he gets out of the hospital.
Teddra King’s mother was not at the hearing. Judge Prescott said she can’t have any contact with the children until she appeared before the court.
There will be a series of hearings about this case starting May 17th.
A judge in another courtroom also set May 17th as the date for a future hearing in the criminal case of Martaevious Santiago. That will give the state the time needed to decide if he will be charged as an adult.