Mom of two murdered sons says justice system failed her

Mom of two murdered sons says justice system failed her

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D'Juansay Freeman was stabbed to death in October 2007. Just two years later, Chris McBath was killed in a shooting. D'Juansay Freeman was stabbed to death in October 2007. Just two years later, Chris McBath was killed in a shooting.
I believe consequences should come before rehabilitation," said Monica Smith. I believe consequences should come before rehabilitation," said Monica Smith.

By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE - A Knoxville mom says the justice system has failed her. Both of Terry Walker Smith's sons died in separate violent crimes.

D'Juansay Freeman was stabbed to death in October 2007. Just two years later, Chris McBath was killed in a shooting.

Both of Smith's sons are buried near each other.

The suspects in both cases have been convicted, but Smith says she's frustrated that the justice system is allowing those defendants parole.

The defendant in Freeman's case has been out on parole for some time, but Smith says what really angers her is that one of the defendant's in McBath's killing was recently granted parole.

The young men were murdered in two different violent crimes, the suspects were convicted, and at that time Smith felt that justice had been served.

"When you sit in a courtroom and you hear these sentences you think, 'Oh well, they got 15 years. I'm not going to have to think about them being on the street for awhile.' But that's not true," said Smith.

Smith feels that way because she recently received a letter she wasn't ready to read. It was from the state, saying one of the defendants in McBath's shooting death in 2009 was up for parole.

Monica Jones was incarcerated in 2009. Her sentence was set to end June 15, 2023.

Smith and her family made sure to be at the parole hearing earlier this month.

"We drove to Nashville. We had a petition with over 300 signatures to keep her in jail and a letter from the district attorney," added Smith.

Despite her efforts Jones was granted parole. The circumstances as to why Jones is now released are not available online.

According to the Tennessee Department of Probation and Parole, during a parole hearing the board considers factors like the nature of the offense, criminal history, program participation, how long that person has served, as well as community support or opposition.

6 News asked if Smith believes in second chances.

"It's too late to apologize. Rehabilitation, yes, but consequences -- I believe consequences should come before rehabilitation," said Smith.

Smith says she is frustrated because she feels like the system has failed her. She now plans to work with other victim's families and their rights.

"You have to be that voice because if you're not then it's going to be another person lost in the system and forgotten," added Smith.

Smith says the other two defendants in McBath's case have to serve 100 percent of their sentences and are not eligible for parole.

In Tennessee, by law an offender must serve a certain percentage of their sentence before they are eligible for parole. That date is calculated by the Tennessee Department of Correction.

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