The six-year-old Virginia boy who shot his teacher earlier this year used his mother’s gun, and she has just been sentenced.
Deja Taylor was sentenced Wednesday to 21 months in prison after being charged with using marijuana while owning a firearm, She also reportedly made a false statement about her drug use when purchasing the firearm. In a plea deal, she pleaded guilty to the charges which would each carry 21-month sentences. But the judge allowed Taylor to serve them concurrently, CNN reported.
Her gun was used by her son to shoot his 25-year-old teacher, Abigail Zwerner, at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News. The teacher is still recovering from injuries from when the bullet went through her hand and into her chest.
“Court documents show police found marijuana in Taylor’s home after the shooting. Federal prosecutors in Virginia argued in court filings that Taylor’s ‘chronic, persistent and … life-affecting abuse extends this case far beyond any occasional and/or recreational use,'” The Hill reported.
“This case is not a marijuana case,” prosecutors wrote. “It is a case that underscores the inherently dangerous nature and circumstances that arise from the caustic cocktail of mixing consistent and prolonged controlled substance use with a lethal firearm.”
According to WAVY-TV:
An ATF investigator testified that law enforcement first knew about Taylor’s connection with marijuana began with a traffic stop two years before the Richneck shooting. During a Williamsburg traffic stop, police noticed marijuana edibles, a strong smell of marijuana in the car and other narcotics, and the boy was inside, then only 4 years old.
Taylor bought the 9 mm Taurus pistol July 19, 2022 at a York County gun dealer. On the ATF form 4473 required with every purchase, she lied about whether she was using illegal drugs at the time.
There was never a lock box or safe found during investigations after the shooting.
In addition, the gun was evidently used before in another shooting incident.
“According to testimony, Taylor used that gun to shoot at the boy’s father Malik Ellison in late December 2022, less than two weeks before her son used it to shoot Zwerner,” WAVY reported. “Taylor believed Ellison was cheating on her, and allegedly saw Ellison and the other woman in a rented U-Haul when she fired.”
Taylor is also facing state charges of child neglect and has a court hearing in December. Her son, now 7, has been with her grandfather who has full custody of the boy, according to court documents.
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