Mom of 6-Year-Old Who Shot His Teacher Will Plead Guilty to Federal Charges, Her Lawyer Says
Deja Nicole Taylor, the mother of a 6-year-old who shot his first-grade teacher, will plead guilty to federal firearm and marijuana charges, her attorney says. She also faces state charges.
The mother of a 6-year-old Virginia boy who shot his teacher in their first-grade classroom will plead guilty to federal charges, her attorney says.
She also faces state charges of child neglect and recklessly leaving a firearm so as to endanger a child, which were filed in April. She has not entered a plea to the state counts.
Deja Nicole Taylor, 26, is now charged with firearm and marijuana counts, federal authorities announced Monday.
Specifically, she allegedly lied on an application for a semiautomatic handgun she purchased last year, according to the federal complaint, by checking a box on a federal form stating she was not an unlawful user of any controlled substances, "when in fact … she was an unlawful user of marijuana," the complaint says.
Though marijuana use is legal in several states, including Virginia, it remains a federal crime.
The federal form to purchase a firearm states, "The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside."
Taylor's lawyer, James Ellenson, said his client will plead guilty to the federal charges as part of an "agreed procedure which eliminated the need for the government to take the case to a grand jury," he said in a statement.
"Our action follows very constructive negotiations we had with federal authorities. The terms of the agreement, which we believe to be fair to all parties, will be disclosed when we enter the guilty plea," Ellenson said in Monday's statement.
The attorney told Inside Edition Digital in April, when state charges were filed, that he hoped to reach a plea agreement on those counts.
Taylor's son, who has a severe form of ADHD, his mother said, shot his teacher in January after taking his mother's gun to school in his backpack. The child, who was under a special treatment plan at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, aimed the gun at instructor Abigail Zwerner as she taught class and pulled the trigger, striking her in the hand, authorities said. The bullet then lodged in her chest.
The teacher is still recuperating and has filed a $40 million lawsuit alleging school administrators ignored multiple warnings from staff and students that the boy had a gun and was threatening other children.
School district officials have declined comment, citing the ongoing litigation.
Prosecutors have said no charges will be filed against the child because he is too young to understand the legal system and to aid in his own defense. The boy is living with a relative, according to his mother.
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