KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A verdict was reached this week in the deadly shooting case that claimed the life of a former Fulton High School student and basketball player back in early 2018 when a reported drug deal in West Knox County turned violent.

The attorney representing Isaiah Styles tells us he has now been found not guilty on all charges except for misdemeanor evading arrest. In the past, Styles’ attorney had said he was acting in self-defense.

In April 2018, Styles, who was 18 at the time, was arrested as a suspect after a day-long manhunt for his reported connection to a shooting that resulted in the death of 18-year-old Mekhi Luster, the former Fulton student/athlete. Officials said a 13-year-old witness reported the shooting.

The sheriff’s office said in 2018 that Luster and the 13-year-old were meeting with Styles and witness Sovereign Matthews, then 18, for a marijuana deal at a residence on Amber Glades Lane. There was a disagreement and a shooting occurred.

When Styles was arrested after a pursuit on foot in which he was bitten by a K-9, he had told detectives Luster was chasing him after a drug deal went bad and at the time, he thought Luster had a gun.

During Styles’ 2018 preliminary hearing, the state argued against the idea that Styles acted in self-defense, telling the court his behavior after that fact was not consistent of that of an innocent man. His attorney argued that in the end, the matter came down to evidence.

“He’s charged with second-degree homicide which is a knowing killing offense of another,” Styles’ defense attorney Greg Isaacs said in July 2018. “It is undisputed that Mr. Styles and Mr. Luster engaged each other in a minor drug transaction for marijuana. It’s undisputed the transaction did not take place and Mr. Luster was angry. It is undisputed that Mr. Styles reached for a gun when Mr. Luster reached for the gun because Mr. Styles feared for his life.”


Editor’s Note: Content from stories by former WATE 6 On Your Side journalists Bridgette Bjorlo and Laura Halm contributed to this report.