Brooks sentenced to 10 years in prison for death of Zach Munday; 2 others get lesser sentences

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Knox County Judge Scott Green sentenced three teens in the death of Gibbs High School student Zach Munday on Friday.

The three teens have already pled guilty in the death of 15-year-old student earlier this year but were back in court for sentencing.

Pleas for leniency were made for Isaiah Brooks, Chelsea Hopson and Noel Leyva in the court hearing Friday afternoon.

In late August, Brooks pled guilty to felony reckless homicide while Hopson entered a guilty plea to a charge of being an accessory after the fact.

In September, Leyva pled guilty to being an accessory after the fact and furnishing alcohol to a minor. Leyva hosted the party at his home. Part of his plea agreement included serving three years and discarding his fake ID.

Isaiah Brooks being taken out of the courtroom after sentencing for the death of Zach Munday on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019. (WATE)

Brooks was sentenced to 10 years in prison by Green. The judge said he will reconsider the sentence in a year, “but no promises.”

Hopson was sentenced to 30 days in Knox County Jail and will have the opportunity for diversion after six years. “You don’t earn diversion today, you don’t earn diversion until the last day until that six years,” Green said.

Chelsea Hopson makes a statement during her sentencing on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, for her role in the death of Gibbs High School student Zach Munday. (WATE)

Leyva was sentenced Friday by Green to supervised probation for three years.

Leyva is also to spend at least 25 hours every year doing community service speaking to youth groups about what happened at his party and how to avoid the same mistakes.

Munday Family speaks after sentencing

In three emotional victim impact statements, Zach’s mother, father, and brother spoke directly to the three being sentenced, the courtroom, and Judge Green.

First to speak, Zach’s mother, Jeanne, asking Brooks and Hopson why they didn’t take her son to the hospital.

“Isaiah Brooks you’re a coward,” said Jeanne, ” “You knew he was suffering but you left him…”

“He never gets to get married or have kids… you didn’t just murder my son, you killed me.”

-Jeanne Munday

Jeanne spoke to Leyva directly, too, applauding his honesty.

“Noel you told us the truth right off the bat, we love you honey.”

Next to speak, Christian Munday, Zach’s brother who was serving in the Marines when he learned his brother had been injured.

“Such a selfish act. It was just as simple as taking him to the hospital. But no, you chose not to because you were afraid of getting in trouble,” said Christian.

He ended by reaffirming his family’s support of Leyva and telling both Brooks and Hopson he will never forgive them.

Last to speak, Joshua Munday, Zach’s father. He began by walking the courtroom through some of his favorite memories of his son but quickly turned to the same questions asked by his wife, ” “What is an innocent child’s life worth?”

Judge Green: “The consequences of your actions are dramatically different”

Knox County Judge Scott Green gave a few moments of explanation behind his sentencing decisions during the hearing.

“When you turn that next day, you don’t look any different. You don’t feel any different. But the consequences for your actions are dramatically different,” said Judge Green, “That’s the circumstance that each of the three of you face. ”

Green continued that although Hopson and Brooks were only months into turning 18-years-old, it doesn’t excuse them of their actions.

Noel Leyva during his sentencing hearing on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, in the Zach Munday case. (WATE)

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