KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Isaiah Brooks, one of the people convicted in the death of 15-year-old Zach Munday, was released into society Monday after serving two years in prison.
Brooks, 20, will be serving the rest of his sentence on probation, starting immediately in a halfway house according to court records filed on Friday. Brooks’ attorney, T. Scott Jones, said they have made arrangements at a halfway house and are expecting his imminent release. Knox County records showed Brooks released at 6:47 p.m. Monday.
“Isaiah and his family are looking forward to his assimilation into society having learned a painful lesson and now having served an appreciable sentence relative to this terrible tragedy that has destroyed multiple families. Prayers for healing for all involved,” Jones said in a statement.
Jones said the judge granting a Rule 35(b) motion for a reduction of sentence is rare in the legal world.
According to the court documents, Judge Scott Green said the court previously sentenced Brooks the 10 years in prison, while also ‘stating it would consider reducing the length of incarceration if a timely Rule 35 Motion were filed.’
Scott Lanzon, an attorney with Hindman & Lanzon, LLC., has no involvement in Brooks’ case, but based on reading the court records said Brooks’ release from prison is different. He explained split confinement usually occurs before someone goes to jail.
“It’s a middle ground for court to not send someone to prison, and gives them a chance to be rehabilitated,” Lanzon said.
He said since the motion for a reduction of sentence was filed and granted, it’s understandable the process was reversed.
“This will allow him to get credit for the time he’s already served and go straight out to probation and be enrolled in a halfway house,” Lanzon said.
Halfway houses aren’t only for people struggling with addiction. Lanzon said halfway houses are used for people who need to be reacclimated to certain rules. He explained a halfway house is like moving back in with your parents and being a teenager again, but a lot more strict.
“Rather than releasing (Brooks) out into the public with less supervision and just to probation, I think what the judge is doing is trying to ensure he can be successful. So, he gets used to additional parameters, additional restrictions,” Lanzon said.
Lanzon said the other difference with Brooks’ situation is he will have probation, instead of being on parole. He said usually when a prisoner is released, they follow rules set by the Tennessee Department of Corrections. In this case, Brooks will be following rules set by Judge Green and a probation officer.
According to the court order, some of the conditions of Brooks’ probation will include abstaining from alcohol, no contact with the Munday family, and not being anywhere near the Munday’s home.
Munday died after an incident at a party where underage drinking was involved. According to police, Brooks and Munday got into a fight at the party. Munday sustained injuries to his head, and doctors said those injuries would have been treatable had he been taken to the hospital.
Lanzon said Brooks will have a heavy burden to bare once out on probation because the other part of the motion filed by Brooks’ attorney was asking the court for judicial diversion.
Judge Green denied that motion, which means Brooks will forever have reckless homicide on his record.
“He’s a young man who’s got the majority of his life in front of him and he will be a felon with this attached to his name forever. And not only that, he’s got 8 years left, in which he will be under the thumb,” Lanzon said.
Lanzon said Judge Green is not a judge to be trifled with. He said if Brooks makes a poor decision while on probation, he will be back in prison quickly.
According to the court order, Brooks serving only two years of his sentence in prison follows what the Munday family asked the court back in 2019. 6 On Your Side reached out to Munday’s family, but have not heard back yet.