Accused murderer captured at Chattanooga mental hospital

(WBIR - Kingston) After several days of searching for a missing man awaiting trial for first degree murder, Tuesday the accused killer was captured and back behind bars.

U.S. Marshals captured Shawn Smoot at around 11 a.m. Tuesday at a mental hospital in Chattanooga. Roane County deputies then transferred Smoot to the jail in Kingston where he is currently being held under suicide watch.

"I think he [Smoot] reached out to someone and told them he was contemplating doing bodily harm to himself," said Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton. "He'll be placed on suicide watch in isolation, be under constant surveillance, and only be allowed certain items in his cell."

Smoot was out free on bond while he awaits a scheduled first degree murder trial this summer. Then he was arrested for DUI in April, which revoked his bond and required him to return to jail. However, he was nowhere to be found until Tuesday.

Smoot is charged with the murder of Brooke Morris, a former girlfriend who also worked for Smoot at his insurance agency in Knoxville.

Morris had filed an order of protection before her death and said Smoot threatened to kill her. Morris was found shot and killed on the side of a road in Roane County in October 2011.

Smoot's journey through the justice system has left the family of Morri

s bewildered at their inability to keep him behind bars.

"I want him to pay. I want him to pay dearly," said Tina Gregg, mother of Brooke Morris. "Over and over the judge keeps making it so he can get out on bond. It's ridiculous. I know the law enforcement here want Smoot behind bars as much as I do."

In June 2012, Smoot agreed to turn himself in and be arraigned on murder charges. Instead, he fled the state and was eventually captured in Mississippi armed with a shotgun.

In a 2012 interview with WBIR, Gregg said "Now that he has been captured, I think we can all rest easier knowing that he is off the streets."

However, when Smoot returned to Tennessee his bond was increased but he once again managed to pay the fee for his freedom. The victim's family wanted him to wear a tracking bracelet, but the judge refused the request.

"I knew he would run. Given the chance to run, I knew he would," said Gregg. "We kept waiting for him to make a mistake. When he got arrested for the DUI, I thought this is great. We've got him. He made a mistake. I knew he would. He's going back to jail."

Once again, Smoot was not detained and was released after the arrest for DUI, resisting arrest, and violation of implied consent in McMinn County last month. Authorities were unable to locate him since then, his bond was revoked, and the manhunt was on.

April 23, 2014: Bond revoked for murder suspect Shawn Smoot

Now that Smoot is back behind bars, Gregg believes the suicidal threats are far from genuine.

"That's a joke. He's not on suicide watch. If he really wanted to kill himself he would have. He probably just wants to be in a cell by himself. As a matter of fact, I just wish they'd throw him the rope," said Gregg.

The murder trial is set to start in July, but Gregg anticipates further delays due to a change in legal representation for Smoot. Whenever the trial occurs, she says any possibility of Smoot being freed in the meantime would be personally offensive.

"Seriously, how many times can you slap somebody in the face? Every time he is released or allowed bond, it is a slap in Brooke's face, in my face, and my whole family."


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