COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Two men charged in the December 2020 killing of 23-year-old Brent Flatt pleaded guilty to second degree murder in late September, the same day the trial for one of the accused killers was scheduled to begin.
Then 20-year-old Isaac Sides and then 22-year-old Caleb Venable both agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge of second degree murder and serve 35 years in prison for Flatt’s murder on Sept. 27, the date Sides’ trial was supposed to start.
Amy Flatt, Brent’s mother, said she told the district attorney she didn’t believe the plea deals were a harsh enough punishment, and added she had no say in whether they would be offered.
“Then (the District Attorney’s Office) said they were going to offer one, basically it wasn’t my decision, it was theirs, and ultimately they thought it was a good deal, and they were going to take it,” Flatt said. “I still told them I didn’t agree with it, but that’s what they decided to do.”
Flatt’s mother has spent almost two years without her son, who she described as her life.
“He was just an amazing person, funny,” Flatt said. “The house is so empty now. Without him, it’s just a different world.”
Her world changed on Dec. 20, 2020 when Cookeville police said Sides, Venable, and then 20-year-old Haleigh Watkins and then 22-year-old Kayla Cowen lured Brent to a home on Wildwood Road in Cookeville, then robbed and shot him multiple times.
Brent later died at Cookeville Regional Medical Center.
“His shirt was pulled up over his head. He was defenseless; his arms couldn’t move when they found him, and he was all alone in that trailer,” Amy Flatt said. “They all left him.”
Sides, Venable, Watkins and Cowen were initially charged with first degree murder, however, with Sides’ and Venable’s plea deals, their charges were lowered to second degree murder.
Flatt’s mother hoped they would get life in prison.
“That’s what they deserve,” she said. “All the evidence proved what they did to my son. They set him up to rob him and murdered him in cold blood.”
Sides and Venable were taken into custody after they pleaded guilty.
Watkins and Cowen have not agreed to any plea deals, and their trial dates have not been set.
Cowen appears to be the only one out on bond.