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Mother of boy who shot elementary school teacher sentenced to 5 years

The boy's mother, Deja Taylor, was sentenced for a state charge of felony child neglect that she pleaded guilty to in August.
Mother of boy who shot elementary school teacher sentenced to 5 years
Posted at 3:35 PM, Dec 15, 2023

Deja Taylor, the mother of the boy who police say shot his Virginia school teacher Abby Zwerner on Jan. 6 at Richneck Elementary in Newport News, was sentenced to five years in prison with three years suspended. The sentence was handed down on Friday for felony child neglect. 

Taylor was also sentenced to two years of probation after serving her sentence.

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Taylor was sentenced for a state charge of felony child neglect that she pleaded guilty to in August.

When she entered her guilty plea, her attorney said the Commonwealth's Attorney agreed to not recommend a sentence longer than six months for Taylor. However, she faces a maximum of five years, and the judge does not have to follow the Commonwealth's Attorney's suggestion.

Taylor had already been sentenced to 21 months in prison and two years of probation on two federal charges for using illegal drugs while possessing a gun, and for lying about her drug use when purchasing the gun. She also pleaded guilty to those charges.

The federal and state charges are in connection to the Richneck shooting, which happened earlier this year on Jan. 6. Police said Taylor's son shot Zwerner, his first-grade teacher, while class was in session.

Prosecutors say Taylor's gun was used in that shooting.

Zwerner's legal team said she suffered physically and mentally after she was shot in the hand and chest. She's currently suing Newport News school officials.

This story was originally published by Madeline Miller and Ellen Ice at Scripps News Norfolk.

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