A Fight for Equal Justice for Isaiah

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This is a plea not only for a young man’s freedom. This is also a plea for racial equality, justice, and the opportunity to show compassion for our young black men that have been “thrown away” by society. Isaiah Brady was convicted of 1st Degree murder at the age of 19 by the State of Illinois. He was sentenced to serve every day of a 50-year sentence. As of today, Isaiah has served 19 years and 8 months of that sentence.

One fatal night in May 2001, Isaiah was in a verbal altercation with his girlfriend Andrea, whom he lived with. At the time, Isaiah had a gun in his hand as he prepared to leave the home, his girlfriend attempted to stop him, and the gun accidentally discharges.  Andrea is shot one time in the head.  Isaiah panics, calls his mom and they rush Andrea to the hospital in his mother’s car. Young and misguided, Isaiah leaves the hospital now fearing for his own life and flees to California to stay with family. Unfortunately, Andrea died days later after being taken off life support.

Isaiah was later charged with 1st Degree murder. The prosecutor used the case of Illinois vs Illgen (1991) to support the charge of 1st Degree murder. The lllgen case is about a 40-year-old white man that had a 20-year history of domestic abuse against his wife, shot and killed her and waited for the police to arrive. Illgen served 15 years for his crime.  The prosecutor stated that Isaiah’s actions of leaving the hospital and fleeing to California were justifiable to charge 1st Degree murder as opposed to a lesser charge. The prosecutor inferred that “he should have known better than to run”.

At the time of sentencing the law imposed mandatory minimums, therefore the judge had no discretion. The judge ordered Isaiah to serve 25 years for the murder and an additional 25 years for the use of the firearm at 100 percent. So here we have a middle-aged white male with a 20-year history of abusing and then killing his wife receive a sentence 35 years shorter than this young black male.  The law took away the judges ability to consider this was Isaiah’s first offense, his traumatic childhood, his juvenile thought process, his attempt to save Andrea’s life by taking her to the hospital and recognizing the imposed sentence in fact would be a de-facto life sentence (a sentence period >40 years). Illgen was given his life back at 55 years old. If Isaiah serves his full sentence he will not be released back into society until he is 69.

Laws and science have since evolved since Isaiah’s sentencing. The First Step Act was passed in 2018 eliminating mandatory minimums at the federal level. In 2019 Illinois passed legislation amending Illinois Statue Unified Code of Correction 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5 making those defendants convicted of 1st-degree murder under the age of 20 eligible for possible parole after serving 20 years of their imposed sentence. But the legislation is not retroactive, therefore, excluding Isaiah.

 Isaiah was evaluated by a distinguished psychological expert in 2019 and his findings indicate that Isaiah was not mentally capable of rational thought at the age of 19.  The district courts have recently recognized the scientific research supporting evidence noting the human brain is not fully developed until the age of 25, which in turn supports Isaiah’s lack of judgement after such a traumatic event.   

Isaiah has shown immense remorse for the death of Andrea and his lack of better judgement over the years. He has shown significant growth in understanding the consequences of his actions. This is no longer about his guilt or innocence; this is about receiving equal justice for a young man that made a mistake and has not been treated fairly by our justice system. Rather we recognize the sentencing disparities in the noted cases or the unconstitutional laws of Illinois, a gross injustice must be rectified.  We are asking for all those who are "consciously and morally shocked" to please sign this petition asking that Isaiah be resentenced under the new legislation and with consideration of the new scientific research. Together, with your support we can help Isaiah get his life back and on the road to becoming a upstanding member of society.