Family of 9-year-old shot in drive-by shooting still demands justice

CINCINNATI — Exactly one year after the murder of 9-year-old Da’Myiah Barton-Pickens, her family is still waiting for justice.

A Silverton girl was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting at her grandmother’s home. Officers said she was struck by one of at least 30 bullets that the sheriff said were likely intended for a family member who was not home.

On Wednesday, in the shadow of the Hamilton County Courthouse and Justice Center, dozens of family members and friends gathered to march in her honor.

Family members, wearing pink “Forever 9” T-shirts, said the pace of the justice system was emotionally difficult for them to bear.

“It’s hard to have that kind of patience when you’re frustrated,” her mother, Danieka Pickens, said. “I’ll never be comfortable with my heart, but you have to show something.”

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Last month, court records show Demario Williams pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence, carrying a concealed weapon, assault with a vehicle and failing to stop after a shooting-related accident. He was sentenced to 3 1/2 years behind bars.

The two remaining defendants, Qasseem Dixon and Ryan Brown, are due in court next week.

The child’s family said they have appeared at every hearing so far.

“We’re trying to go in there with determination. Let’s just let them know that we’re focused, that we want this, and you’ll see us every time we seek justice, no matter how long it takes,” Pickens said.

The pain of the 9-year-old’s death is still fresh for her family. Fighting back tears, her 12-year-old cousin Kelsie Pickens said her energy lit up the room and she “always helped people when they were at their worst.”

Her aunt Dorshika said she doesn’t usually allow her children to appear in court, but today she focused on her niece’s story to promote the fight against violence in the community.

“I believe we have a responsibility to speak up and speak not only for our children, but for the entire community, period,” Dorshika said.

“We are here together, we are here as one. Because if we become one, maybe we can somehow achieve some results,” Danieka said.

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