NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The mother of the boy who shot his teacher at Richneck Elementary School has tested positive for drugs in violation of her bond, according to a Sept. 1 motion filed in federal court, and prosecutors have asked for that bond to be revoked.
Deja Taylor, the mother of the 6-year-old boy who shot his teacher, Abby Zwerner, in a first-grade classroom at Richneck Elementary in January, tested positive for marijuana July 19. That test, according to the motion to revoke her bond, is pending confirmation.
Just over a month later, she also tested positive for cocaine and marijuana Aug. 25, a court document states. In the latter random drug test, Taylor signed an admission form admitting to marijuana use three days earlier. This test, too, is also pending confirmation.
“Importantly, (Taylor) just didn’t violate one condition,” the motion states, “but multiple conditions on multiple occasions.”
Taylor’s lead attorney on the federal case, Gene Rossi, shared this statement after being contacted by WAVY: “Like so many Americans, my client Ms. Deja Taylor has serious substance abuse issues that are exacerbated by mental health issues. We would ask for compassion and understanding at this critical time in her life. As always, we hope for a continued speedy recovery for Ms. Abigail Zwerner.”
Taylor pleaded guilty June 12 to a pair of charges in connection to the gun — unlawful use of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm and making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm. She’s scheduled to be sentenced at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 18.
Prosecutors have asked for a hearing to determine if her bond should be revoked and whether she should be detained pending her October sentencing.
As part of her bond, she was ordered to be released on conditions of supervision following her guilty plea. Those conditions included that “she not violate federal, state or local law; unlawfully using and possessing narcotic or controlled substances, failing to attend substance abuse treatment as directed and failing to submit to drug testing as directed.”
Taylor had completed a substance abuse evaluation July 15 and had been recommended for individual treatment, but she did not attend scheduled treatment sessions Aug. 17 and Aug. 24.
In court documents, prosecutors said “failing to attend treatment is… circumstantial evidence that she’s continuing to use and possess controlled substances.”
She also failed to report to phase testing Aug. 16 and Aug. 22.
In the motion prosecutors wrote, “the fact that the defendant failed to report to phase testing on August 16 and 22, 2023, also support an inference she knew that when she submitted herself to more testing that she would test positive for a substance.”
Prosecutors, in their filing, said Taylor violated multiple conditions of the order that set the conditions for her release.
“These violations are serious in nature,” the court document states. “Had these violations been supervised release violations after a conviction, (U.S. code) would require the Court to revoke the defendant’s supervision and impose a term of imprisonment for possessing a controlled substance and refusing to comply with drug testing.
“These violations are serious and call into question the defendant’s danger to the community, respect for the law and this Court’s Orders, and gives the United States no faith that the defendant will abide by the terms of her court supervision since her conduct is repeated and not merely one mistake.”