KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – One of the teens convicted in the death of 15-year-old Zach Munday was released a week early from her prison sentence.
Chelsea Hopson, 18, entered a guilty plea to a charge of being an accessory after the fact in the reckless homicide death of Zach Munday.
She began serving her 30 days in the Knox County Detention Facility after being sentenced on Nov. 1.
Court paperwork notes that Hopson was scheduled to be released on Sunday, Dec. 1. However she was released at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23.
“Chelsea Hopson was sentenced to 30 days but she received good time while being incarcerated due to having no disciplinary sanctions and this is what accounted for her release on November 23, 2019,” Knox County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Kimberly Glenn said.
Munday’s friend, Alexus Tate, says the news of Hopson’s release was shocking.
“I was also really sad because Zach’s family is the only family who doesn’t get to visit or spend Thanksgiving with their child,” Tate said. “And I thought, ‘Well, if she spends the full 30 days in jail and misses one holiday with her family, maybe she’ll learn her lesson.’ But unfortunately that’s not the case.”
The Knox County Sheriff’s Office tells us there was no family notification condition placed on Hopson’s release by the courts.
“I know that Chelsea got out of jail and I’m glad she had to serve the time that she did, but I’m also disappointed because I don’t think she should’ve gotten out early,” Tate said.
KCSO Department of Corrections Chief William Purvis said Hopson’s release was “time/sentence served.”
We reached out to the Munday family, however we’ve not heard back from them.
Tate says Zach’s parents are upset, “Because that’s not what was supposed to happen. That’s not fair.”
Tate says it’s been a roller coaster of emotions and it’s hard finding peace, but they do feel Zach received justice.
“So many people loved him and he was one of my best friends,” she said. “So, it’s hard to say ‘Oh 30 days is enough,’ because I don’t think it is.”
Hopson’s attorney, Chloe Akers an associate with the Bosch Law Firm, spoke to us on Tuesday confirming all the details from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office. We requested an on camera interview with Hopson, however it’s been declined at this time.
Hopson will have the opportunity for diversion after six years, but earlier this month she had a request for a modified sentence rejected.
Munday and Isaiah Brooks got into a fight at a house party in late May where a witness claimed seeing Brooks, “physically pick (Munday) up and slam him headfirst onto the pavement.” Hopson later left the party with Munday in her car.
Several witnesses believed Hopson and Brooks were taking him to the hospital. Instead, he was taken to Brooks’ home where he later died.
Isaiah Brooks was sentenced to 10 years in prison for felony reckless homicide. In September, Noel Leyva pled guilty to being an accessory after the fact and furnishing alcohol to a minor. Leyva hosted the party at his home where Munday sustained injuries that would later prove to be fatal.