NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – The mother of the Richneck Elementary School student who police say shot his teacher in January is now facing federal gun charges and plans to plead guilty to them, according to her attorney.
Court documents state that Deja Taylor, the mother of the 6-year-old boy who police say shot teacher Abby Zwerner, faces federal charges of unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm and making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm. It states she “was an unlawful user of marijuana.”
Taylor’s attorney, James Ellenson, said she would plead guilty to the charges.
Deja Taylor will enter guilty pleas to the charges that were filed today as an information by the U.S. Attorneys’ office of the Eastern District of Virginia. The information was an agreed procedure which eliminated the need for the government to take the case to a grand jury. 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. That should occur later this week or next.
We intend to present mitigating evidence that we trust the Court will view favorably at sentencing later this year following preparation of a pre-sentence report.
We thank the US Attorney’s office for its good faith participation in discussions.
The shooting that occurred on January 6, 2023, at Richneck Elementary School was a tragedy for all parties, most especially teacher Abby Zwerner for whom we wish a complete recovery.James Ellenson, attorney for Deja Taylor
Taylor was indicted in April by a grand jury on charges of felony child neglect and misdemeanor recklessly leaving a loaded firearm so as to endanger a child.”
The court filing states that “on or about July 19, 2022,” Taylor knew she was an unlawful user of a controlled substance and possessed a firearm – a Taurus model PT111, G2A 9mm semiautomatic handgun.
It also states that she “knowingly made a false and fictitious written statement to Winfree Firearms,” that she was not an unlawful user of marijuana, “when in fact, she then knew she was an unlawful user of marijuana.”
Gene Rossi, the lead attorney on Deja Taylor’s federal case, called this case a Shakespearean tragedy. “A perfect storm that has had terrible consequences. A vulnerable teacher whose life was almost taken, a boy six years of age and, a mother whose life will never be the same.”