KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – After justice was handed to those held legally responsible for his death, the family of Zach Munday continues to not only grieve this loss, but also remember him and his smile.
Photo books, blankets, T-shirts, bracelets and other items serve them and close friends to spur the non-physical, most precious thing after his death: Memory.
Zach Munday’s bedroom, for the most part, is as he had left it before Memorial Day weekend 2019, only it now serves his grieving family for the keeping of physical items to which they attach memories.
On the door hangs a homemade wreath in Gibbs High School’s colors and his football jersey number, 89.
On the bed lays a photo blanket with the late 15-year-old’s photos, his desk has some of his possessions like his wallet, a fidget spinner, and a bulletin board of more photos and mementos. On his walls are posters and flags, in typical teenage boy fashion, hats he had worn.
“He was a jokester, he was….he could make everybody laugh. It’s what he loved to do. His dances, he’d make everybody do his dance moves,” his father shared.
Zach’s family – his mother, Jeanne, father, Josh, and older brother, Christian, have recently had to not only grieve for the loss of him, but also have had to face those held legally responsible for his death in May.
They have shared their grief with the court, pleading with a judge recently for just sentences for the teens who had pleaded guilty in late August to charges in the death of Zach; after months of questioning what had happened to him.
Zach’s family has attended several court dates, such as on Wednesday for a proceeding in which a judge denied one of the teens’ request for a modified sentence.
Following the court proceeding, the family shared with WATE 6 On Your Side that it’s hard being in a courtroom; with Wednesday’s hearing they say, they had approached with a worst-case scenario outlook.
“I was angry. It’s a slap on the wrist at the first point and now she just wants to be grounded,” says Jeanne Munday.
“It kind of gives her a wake-up call,” says Josh Munday of Hopson’s 30-day jail sentencing being upheld.
They also say the last few days with the court proceedings have been bittersweet.
“It’s a relief that the criminal court portion is over with, although we feel like, there’ll never be justice for what happened to our son,” Josh Munday said.
Zach’s parents and his brother Christian saying they hope Hopson and Isaiah Brooks turn their lives around.
“I hope they think long and hard about everything and then I hope it’s with them for the rest of their life,” Josh Munday said.
In Zach’s bedroom, the memories of him and the joy he shared, remain.
“I think about that all the time and it definitely brings a smile to my face,” says Christian Munday.