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Charges filed, family relieved months after Breanna Eskridge’s death: “It finally came to light”

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MILWAUKEE -- The mother of a 17-year-old girl who was shot and killed last summer says she is one step closer to justice for her daughter. Two people have been charged in connection with the shooting death of Breanna Eskridge, after her death on July 19th, 2015.

Breanna Eskridge

Breanna Eskridge

Letitia Eskridge on Thursday, March 10th spoke for the first time about her daughter's death.

"It's like it happened yesterday," said Letitia Eskridge.

And now that charges have been filed, Eskridge's mother said: "It's like I'm going through the emotions again."

Breanna Eskridge was shot and killed while on a porch near 12th and Concordia on July 19th.

On Wednesday, March 9th, it was announced that two people have been charged in connection with Breanna Eskridge's death.

34-year-old Antonio Smith and 33-year-old Wynette McClelland, both of Milwaukee, each face a felony charge of first-degree intentional homicide - party to a crime. Smith also faces a felony charge of possession of a firearm by a felon.

Leticia Eskridge

Leticia Eskridge

"I'm just so grateful it finally came to light," said Letitia Eskridge.

Police say Breanna Eskridge was lured to the area where she was shot in July, days after witnessing her own boyfriend's murder.

According to the criminal complaint, Eskridge was present when Eddie Powe was shot and killed on W. Port Sunlight Way on July 11, 2015. A little more than a week later, on July 19th, Eskridge was shot and killed near 12th and Concordia. Eskridge's mother told police at the time, she believed "that her daughter was killed because Breanna was present at the murder of her boyfriend," Eddie Powe.

The complaint indicates Eskridge was with Wynette McClelland just moments before she was fatally shot. McClelland told police she had known Eskridge and her twin sister for approximately a year "and that they were very good friends. McClelland stated that Breanna Eskridge had confided in her that she was present at the scene of the Powe homicide."

Balloons for Breanna Eskridge

Balloons for Breanna Eskridge

In statements to police, McClelland said she "observed Antonio Smith shoot and kill Eddie Powe." She also told police that Smith repeatedly contacted her and "expressed his concern that Breanna Eskridge was going to identify him to police as the murderer." McClelland told police Smith "intended to kill" Eskridge and that "there weren't going to be any witnesses."

Cell phone records noted in the criminal complaint show there were instances in which Smith and McClelland spoke prior to the shooting of Eskridge. Smith also made phone calls and live two-way video chats from jail. Some of those conversations involved a storage unit near 51st and Good Hope Rd. When police executed a search warrant on the storage unit, they found the firearms and ammunition that were allegedly used in the Powe and Eskridge homicides.

A criminal complaint outlines a cruel plan -- investigators say Wynette McClelland and Antonio Smith put in to action.

Antonio Smith, Wynette McClelland

Antonio Smith, Wynette McClelland

"Cold-hearted, cold-blooded. That's a monster," said Letitia Eskridge.

Breanna Eskridge

Breanna Eskridge

Those who knew and loved Breanna Eskridge are remembering the 17-year-old girl who was full of life.

"We'll always mourn her. We'll always miss her," Latoya Eskridge, Breanna's cousin said.

Leticia Eskridge knows another chapter has begun in this case -- one she hopes ends in justice for Breanna.

"She'll never be forgotten. She will always be in my life. She will always be a part of my life. What's done in the dark will always come to light," said Letitia Eskridge.

McClelland and Smith face life behind bars in this case.

Smith was already in custody in connection with the murder of Eddie Powe.