Want some fantastic news for a change?
Let’s start with a recap. On June 22, 2020, a 911 call summoned police in Gouverneur, New York to the Summerville home at Rowley Street, where they found 18-year-old Treyanna Summerville dead.
It was later revealed that Treyanna was malnourished for some time and assaulted around June 18. Her mother, Lashanna Charlton, did not seek medical treatment for her grievously injured daughter, and on June 22, she was declared dead at the scene.
One would assume at that point that Lashanna, the only responsible adult in the home at the time, would be charged immediately, right? Wrong. On June 23, 2020, a press release from the New York State Police announced that Treyanna’s 13-year-old half-sister had been charged with second-degree murder in her older sister’s death.
If convicted, the girl could have faced up to life in prison.
It’s important to know, however, that there were multiple issues in the home prior to Treyanna’s death. Hers is a very in-depth story, which you can read more about here or hear on this podcast episode. The short version is that there were dozens of police visits, police reports, and allegations of child abuse and neglect against Lashanna Charlton in the years leading up to her daughter’s murder. At one point, the woman was even charged with felony second-degree assault and child endangerment after an incident during which she beat her stepson, Isiah Samuels, with a bat for taking a snack. The disposition of that case is unknown, and by the time his younger stepsister was murdered, Isiah had long ago moved out of the home. His father, Rodney Charlton, was deployed in South Korea when Treyanna died.
In July of 2020, 38-year-old Lashanna Charlton was charged with second-degree manslaughter, accused of “substantially” contributing to Treyanna’s malnourishment and death. The criminal complaint alleges that Lashanna failed to obtain medical assistance for her injured daughter, who was “unconscious as a result of the malnourishment and assault,” and that Lashanna therefore demonstrated disregard for Treyanna’s life and created a “substantial and unjustifiable risk” of her daughter’s death. Lashanna turned herself in at the New York State Police barracks in Gouverneur, although she posted $50,000 bond and was released from St. Lawrence County Jail the following day.
Amidst all of that horror — and Treyanna’s truly is one of the most horrific, tragic stories I’ve ever covered — I’m glad to be able to report good news for a change. This week, after over a year of literally zero news about the case, it was announced that the murder charge against Treyanna’s now-14-year-old half-sister was dismissed on September 8 in the youth part of St. Lawrence County court. According to court documents, St. Lawrence County District Attorney Gary Pasqua told the court the charge should be dropped “because the evidence no longer supports the charge nor the interests of justice.”
When asked by reporters, Mr. Pasqua said, “With regards to this case, at this point, the charge has been dismissed, and it’s been sealed.” He was unable to elaborate further.
As for Lashanna’s manslaughter charge, he said, “It’s an ongoing case. We have an individual that has been charged, and we are continuing with the process.”
When asked why there has been no indictment or any other apparent movement on Lashanna’s case in the past 14 months, Mr. Pasqua said, “I disagree with the idea that nothing has happened. The fact that the public or anyone else is not in the loop in terms of what we’re doing doesn’t mean things aren’t happening.”
To another reporter, he added, “It’s been a long investigation. At the end of the day, it’s about doing what’s right based on the evidence.”
I couldn’t agree more, and I commend Mr. Pasqua for taking this vital step in obtaining justice for Treyanna as well as her younger sister.
Click here for my ongoing coverage of Treyanna’s case.
Sources: 7 News WWNY, NNY 360