Shelby Isaac of Tennessee, or as she’s now known — “the hair weave murderer,” wasn’t able to stomach her sentence when the judge announced it on Friday evening.
The jury’s three-hour-long deliberation led to Judge James Lammy reading off the verdict — guilty on two counts of second-degree murder, one count of criminally negligent homicide and one count of reckless homicide. After dropping her head for a moment, 19-year-old Isaac fainted and fell to the floor. She was unconscious for five minutes before authorities managed to revive her.
As she left the courtroom, members of her family wept while one shouted that she was innocent and some in the jury began to cry, WMC Action News 5 reports.
Investigators found that Isaac met with E.J. Tate and Edwina Thomas to get a refund on a hair extension that they sold her. But, their meeting quickly went south, and Isaac shot the couple, killing Thomas’ unborn baby.
Prosecutor Gavin Smith told the jury “we know that she took the time to pull out that gun; she took the time to extend her arm and point it at these people.” As evidence, he pointed to a police report showing that, when she was apprehended, Isaac had blood on her clothes and a considerable amount of cash on her person. He also cited fingerprints indicating that she was at the crime scene. Before jurors deliberated, he told them, “She took their life. You’ve got a job to do, do it. Find her guilty.”
Isaac’s attorney argued that the witness statements were inconsistent, declaring, “When you follow the credible and unbiased evidence in this case, it does not lead you to Shelby Isaac.”
The criminally negligent homicide charge stems from the death of the unborn child, WREG reports. The second-degree murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, though Isaac’s lawyer says that she intends to ask for the minimum: 15 years.
Tate’s mother told WMC that she has been praying for a guilty verdict, saying, “I don’t want her on the streets walking freely, and I have to go to the grave site every week to talk to my child.”
The trial gained national attention due to Isaac’s “hair weave murderer” nickname and the arguments and evidence took weeks to lay out — Law & Crime reports that the Memphis Tennessee trial began on Nov. 2.