Mother Of 6-Year-Old Who Shot Elementary Teacher Will Plead Guilty To Federal Gun Charges

Mother Of 6-Year-Old Who Shot Elementary Teacher Will Plead Guilty To Federal Gun Charges

The mother of a 6-year-old Virginia student is set to plead guilty to federal firearms charges after her son shot his elementary school teacher earlier this year.

On Monday, June 5, Deja Taylor, 25, was charged with being an unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm and making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm. By Tuesday, Taylor’s attorney confirmed she will enter a guilty plea for the charges, 13 News Now reports.

The guilty plea comes after Taylor’s son shot his first-grade teacher Abby Zwerner, 25, on January 6 inside her classroom at Richneck Elementary School. Taylor was already criminally indicted on felony child neglect and a misdemeanor charge of endangering a child by reckless storage of a firearm.

But now she’s facing new charges after prosecutors accused her of making a false claim on the firearms transaction form she filled out when she purchased a 9mm handgun in 2022. According to authorities, Taylor lied when she answered no when asked if she was a marijuana user.

The 9mm handgun was the same one the 6-year-old used to shoot his teacher six months after it was purchased. While prosecutors initially said Taylor legally purchased the gun, the federal complaint has been updated to say she lied on her application to purchase and possess the gun.

While Virginia moved to legalize marijuana in recent years, the drug remains illegal under federal law and a federal felony to use it while armed with a gun. If someone checks “yes” but later admits to using the substance, they are barred from buying a gun, the Virginian-Pilot reports.

Taylor’s attorney, James Ellenson, said he had been in discussions with prosecutors about the charges in recent weeks and plans to enter a guilty plea as part of a plea agreement.

“The information was an agreed procedure which eliminated the need for the government to take the case to a grand jury,” Ellenson wrote in a statement.

“Our action follows very constructive negotiations we had with federal authorities.”

Taylor is facing a maximum sentence of 25 years combined for the two federal charges, but discretionary sentencing guidelines would be significantly less as part of a plea agreement.


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