The mother of a 6-year-old who shot his first-grade teacher in January was handed a stiff prison sentence for felony child neglect.
Deja Nicole Taylor will serve two years of a five-year sentence, with three years suspended, and then two years of probation, according to a news release from the Newport News Commonwealth Attorney.
Her probation will include substance abuse treatment, parenting classes and mental health treatment.
Circuit Court Judge Christopher Papile went beyond the Virginia state sentencing guidelines and the recommendation of six months in prison Taylor’s lawyers agreed to in a plea deal with prosecutors, according to CBS News.
Taylor has also pleaded guilty to federal charges related to lying on the application to get the gun her son used to shoot Abby Zwerner in front of her first-grade class. Taylor was sentenced to 21 months in prison on those charges.
The Commonwealth Attorney’s office said the sentences will run consecutively.
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In the Jan. 6 shooting, Zwerner was hit in the left hand and upper left chest, suffering broken bones and a punctured lung. Afterward, the boy told a school official “I shot that b**** dead.”
Zwerner has said she wondered after being shot “whether it would be my final moment on earth.” She has undergone five surgeries and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Taylor’s son told authorities he climbed up a dresser to take the 9mm handgun from his mother’s purse. Taylor claimed she had secured the gun with a trigger lock, but one was never found.
Her attorneys claimed “mitigating circumstances,” including postpartum depression and a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, were in play. During her federal sentencing in November, Taylor said she would feel remorse “for the rest of my life.”
Her lawsuit says that by the time school officials checked his backpack for a gun, he had stuffed it into his sweatshirt pocket. The suit also says a school official prevented teachers from searching the boy’s person.
The boy had “a history of random violence,” according to the suit, which identifies him as John Doe.
“John Doe had been removed from school during the 2021-2022 school year when he was in kindergarten after he strangled and choked a teacher,” the lawsuit notes, according to the Daily Mail.
“All Defendants knew that John Doe attacked students and teachers alike, and his motivation to injure was directed toward anyone in his path, both in and out of school.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.