Deja Taylor Sentenced to Two Years in Child Neglect Case After Son Shoots Teacher: Newport News Tragedy Unfolds

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In a recent court hearing, Deja Taylor, a Virginia woman, received a two-year prison sentence for felony child neglect after her then-6-year-old son shot his first-grade teacher, Abigail Zwerner, in January at Richneck Elementary in Newport News.

Deja Taylor Sentenced to Two Years in Child Neglect Case After Son Shoots Teacher
Deja Taylor Sentenced to Two Years in Child Neglect Case After Son Shoots Teacher ( Photo: People Magazine )

The incident involved Deja Taylor’s handgun, and her son, whose identity remains undisclosed, accessed the firearm from her purse, shooting Zwerner in front of her class

Circuit Court Judge Christopher Papile delivered the sentence, deviating from the recommended six months in the plea deal, imposing a two-year term, surpassing both prosecution and defense suggestions. Deja Taylor, charged in April and pleading guilty in August, initially faced up to five years in prison but benefited from the plea deal, which dropped a misdemeanor charge of recklessly storing a firearm.

According to the child’s statement to authorities, he obtained his mother’s 9mm pistol by climbing onto a drawer. Deja Taylor initially claimed she secured the gun with a trigger lock, but investigators found none. This sentencing follows Taylor’s recent federal conviction, receiving a 21-month prison term for using marijuana while owning a firearm.

Deja Taylor expressed remorse in a statement read by her attorney during the proceedings

Abigail Zwerner, the victim, suffered significant injuries, with bullets hitting her left hand and upper left chest, leading to broken bones and a punctured lung. Having undergone five surgeries since the incident, Zwerner is suing Newport News Public Schools for $40 million, alleging negligence in ignoring warnings about the child having access to a firearm. Zwerner, who left teaching after the incident, evacuated her students before collapsing in the school office.

This sentencing underscores the gravity of the incident and the legal consequences faced by Deja Taylor, bringing attention to the need for responsible firearm ownership and heightened school safety measures.

 

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