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Mom says verbal abuse, fat shaming may have driven teen to murder her father

MUNCIE, Ind. - An Indiana teen is accused of brutally murdering her father in Michigan. The suspect's mother said fat shaming and other mental abuse may have driven the teen to kill.

Ameera Stokes, 18, is accused of killing her father by hitting him in the head with a hammer and stabbing him in the chest inside his Michigan home before calling 911 to confess.

The murder suspect's mother said she's not excusing her daughter's actions but theorized the murder may have taken place because the girl’s father was verbally abusive for years.

"What she did was absolutely horrific," said Gretchen Brasher. "I can’t imagine what he must have went through, but I don’t want her to get locked up for the rest of her life either."

According to court records, prosecutors charged Ameera with murder and claim the killing started with a fight over "life issues."

Ameera’s mother said the teen endured years of verbal abuse at the hands of her father, Donald Stokes, who Gretchen said constantly teased Ameera about being overweight.

"She said she hated herself – that she was fat and worthless," Brasher said. "She felt she was a burden to everybody."

Gretchen said, in 2014, Ameera stabbed a friend at a Boys and Girls Club because she didn’t want to live with her dad any longer and wanted to be arrested.

"She tried everything she could to get away from her dad," Brasher said. "Her dad was physically abusive to her sister and verbally abusive to her. She lived in fear every day."

Last year, Ameera went to live in Muncie with her mother. During that time, the teen allegedly attempted suicide by driving her mom's car into a pole.

"The police said she jumped out of the car and said she just wanted to die," Brasher said. "They took her to Ball, but they wouldn’t keep her. We begged them to keep her."

Gretchen believes years of verbal abuse and other financial issues took a toll on her daughter, and she hopes the 18-year-old receives mental health treatment instead of a life behind bars.

"She deserves to be punished for what she did, but she deserves to have a life," Brasher said. "I really hope she gets mental help."

Ameera is being held without bond in a Michigan jail until trial.