CANTON — A dozen people stood outside the St. Lawrence County Courthouse on Tuesday afternoon, a year to the day Gouverneur teen Treyanna N. Summerville was reported dead and a homicide investigation began.
Most rally participants held signs calling for justice. Two people have been charged in connection with Treyanna’s death — both were arrested last summer — and no indictments have been returned in County Court where the cases are being handled.
A second-degree manslaughter charge against Treyanna’s mother, Lashanna N. Charlton, 39, and a second-degree murder charge against a 14-year-old half sister, 13 at the time of Treyanna’s death, are both still pending, according to District Attorney Gary M. Pasqua.
Mrs. Charlton is being represented by Melissa K. Swartz, of Green & Brenneck, Syracuse. The minor and her family have retained Syracuse-area attorney Robert E. Moran, a former assistant district attorney for Onondaga County. They declined to comment on their cases this week.
The wonder shared by several people at the rally was: “What’s taking so long?”
Alexis M. Stevens and Emily B. Burgess, two of Treyanna’s friends and 2020 Gouverneur High School graduates, attended and said they hope to hear more case updates soon.
Part of her frustration, Ms. Burgess said, is that reports of suspected child abuse and neglect preceded Treyanna’s death.
“It lasted years before,” she said. “I don’t want it to be years again.”
Treyanna’s older stepbrother has recounted years of physical and psychological abuse he endured from Mrs. Charlton, his stepmom, while living with her at the family’s Rowley Street residence. At 18 years old, he left the home in 2015 after he said Mrs. Charlton struck him in the head with a frying pan, just one of multiple blows he described receiving over a period of years.
In the roughly eight years Treyanna’s family lived in Gouverneur, mandated reports were made by Gouverneur Central School District employees, village police responded to the home and Child Protective Services was called.
For about an hour, ralliers decried the county Department of Social Services and CPS for injustice to Treyanna and other area children and youth, contending abuses of power have left them to suffer. One sign read: “There’s nothing protective about CPS.”