Virginia mom awarded 2 years in jail for child neglect

Deja Taylor pleaded guilty in June to using marijuana while owning a gun, which violates federal law

Deja Taylor, a 26-year-old mother from Virginia. — ABC News

A young boy accidentally shot his teacher at a school in Virginia earlier this year, leading to his mother, Deja Taylor, being sentenced to two years in prison due to neglect. 

Deja Taylor, the 26-year-old mother from Virginia, was given a two-year sentence after her 6-year-old son’s accidental shooting of his elementary school teacher earlier this year. 

Taylor faced a potential five-year prison term but received a shorter sentence after a plea deal with prosecutors. She pleaded guilty in June to using marijuana while owning a gun, which violates federal law. She was consequently sentenced to 21 months in prison last month.

During the shooting incident on January 6, Taylor believed the gun was secured in her purse with a trigger lock and left on her bedroom dresser, as per a probable cause statement. However, the firearm was accessible to her child, leading to the tragic event.

Following the shooting incident, Zwerner filed a $40 million lawsuit against the school district, alleging negligence on the part of administrators who ignored warnings about the child having access to a handgun.

New details emerged during the legal proceedings, revealing instances where Taylor’s son had taken car keys from her purse and crashed a car. Additionally, Taylor reportedly fired her gun in a prior argument over her son’s father, as evidenced by obtained text messages.

Despite claims of an “acute disability” in her son, prosecutors highlighted Taylor’s neglect in securing the firearm along with her extensive marijuana use. Taylor’s family, particularly her great-grandfather, has been involved in caring for the child.

The community remains sympathetic to Zwerner, who has since expressed suffering from anxiety and depression, leading to her decision to cease teaching.

The case has raised questions about gun safety, school security, and parental responsibility. The authorities continue to investigate whether others could be held accountable for the shooting.

Despite Taylor’s sentencing, Zwerner highlighted the need for kindness in the world and expressed her acknowledgment of the support she received, although her life has been irreversibly altered by the incident.


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