Mom of 6-Year-Old Who Shot Teacher Pleads Guilty

Deja Taylor admits carelessly storing gun her child used in the shooting
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2023 6:07 PM CDT
Updated Aug 15, 2023 12:55 PM CDT
Mom of 6-Year-Old Who Shot Teacher Pleads Guilty
Signs stand outside Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Va., Jan. 25, 2023.   (AP Photo/Denise Lavoie, File)
UPDATE Aug 15, 2023 12:55 PM CDT

Another guilty plea from the mother of a 6-year-old boy who shot his schoolteacher: Deja Taylor, 26, pleaded guilty to child neglect Tuesday, reports the Washington Post. Taylor admitted that she owned the gun used in the shooting and that she stored it in a place accessible to her son—prosecutors say he simply took it from her purse. She faces up to six months in prison at her October sentencing. The plea follows an earlier one over federal charges.

Jun 12, 2023 6:07 PM CDT

The mother of a 6-year-old boy who shot his teacher at a Virginia elementary school has pleaded guilty to federal charges and could be facing prison time. Deja Nicole Taylor pleaded guilty in Newport News federal court to felony charges of having a firearm while possessing marijuana and lying on a federal background check form about her marijuana use, the Virginian-Pilot reports. Under a plea deal, prosecutors are expected to ask for a sentence between 18 and 24 months when the 25-year-old is sentenced in October.

Marijuana is legal in Virginia while remaining a controlled substance under federal law, though the charges against Taylor are relatively rare, the AP reports. Prosecutors said Monday that investigators found the drug at Taylor's home and her mother's home in the days after her son shot teacher Abby Zwerner at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News in January. Prosecutors said they found text messages on her phone "illustrating the pervasive scope of Taylor's marijuana use." They said that in a 2021 traffic stop, police found "several marijuana edibles that looked like rice treats" next to her son, who was then 4 years old.

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A statement of facts from prosecutors contradicted what lawyers for Taylor have said about the firearm being secured, the Washington Post reports. Lawyers have said she believed the 9mm handgun her son took to school was secured on a high closet shelf, but prosecutors said no trigger lock or key to a trigger lock was found at her residence or her mother's home. Taylor still faces state charges including felony child neglect. Zwerner, who was shot in the hand and chest, is suing the school district for $40 million. (More school shooting stories.)

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