Marvin Fong, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland), October 23, 2007
Lesleye Holliman,17, is accused in the stabbing of 15-year-old Demesha Sharp.Grandma wielded a stun gun. Mom used pepper spray. The teenager, known as “Half Pint,” brandished a steak knife.
And when the three generations of East Side women were done, a 15-year-old girl was dead, police and prosecutors said.
Demesha Sharp’s death during a melee late Friday near an East 140th Street bus stop was the culmination of a yearlong feud with 17-year-old Lesleye Holliman, who stabbed Demesha with the knife, officials said.
Prosecutors said the Holliman family knew Demesha had appeared in their North Collinwood neighborhood and went out looking to attack her.
Lesleye was arraigned in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court Monday, where a lawyer denied the charges on her behalf. Annetta Holliman, 60, and her daughter Yulonda, 32, are being held on suspicion of murder but have not been charged.
Demesha and her family had lived in the North Collinwood neighborhood but moved away. The feud between the girls and their families continued to simmer, though, and it reignited Friday when Demesha returned to her former home to collect mail.
One of Demesha’s friends, Phenique Matthews, 16, who witnessed the stabbing, said Lesleye and her friends were a problem. “They didn’t like us. Whenever they would see us they would curse us out and say they were going to get us,” she said.
But the dispute went both ways, the Hollimans said.
Annetta and Yulonda Holliman told neighborhood activist Kevin Bell that Demesha and her friend provoked the fight, with taunts earlier in the evening from in front of the Hollimans’ Kelso Avenue home.
Annetta Holliman told Bell that she drove to the site because she was worried about her daughter and granddaughter. The two had gone to a store after the taunts at the house. When she arrived, a crowd armed with bricks quickly drew in. A fight erupted and her car window was smashed.
Annetta Holliman told Bell that she pulled out a gun and fired it into the air after she was smashed in the back of her head with a brick. Her daughter was hit in the face with a brick, Bell said.
Police did not find a gun.
Other witnesses offered a different account. They said the entire Holliman family was riding around in a sport utility vehicle, looking for Demesha. When they found her, they jumped out for a fight.
“Half-Pint [Lesleye] got out of the truck and said, ‘Don’t try to run now,’” Phenique, Demesha’s friend, said. “The mother and the grandmother got out and started punching Demesha’s older sister, Quentia Wagner, 17. Demesha tried to defend her sister.
“She said, ‘Stay off my sister,’ and that’s when I saw Half-Pint stab her,” Phenique said.
Police said the grandmother and mother used pepper spray and a stun gun to hold back anyone wanting to help Demesha during the attack.
Christian Hardick, 16, tried to protect Demesha and was stabbed in the back. He was discharged Monday from Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.
The Department of Children and Family Services has a long history with the Holliman family, agency Director Jim McCafferty said.