Mom of Virginia boy who shot teacher sentenced for child neglect


A Virginia woman whose then-6-year-old son shot his first-grade teacher inside a classroom this year was sentenced Friday to two years in prison for child neglect.

Deja Taylor’s son, who has not been identified, shot Abigail Zwerner on Jan. 6 at Richneck Elementary in Newport News, Virginia, with Taylor’s handgun, authorities said. Taylor faced up to five years in prison, but struck a plea deal with prosecutors.

At her Friday afternoon court hearing, a judge ruled Taylor should serve two years in prison.

Deja Taylor arrives to the federal court building in Virginia with her lawyer

Deja Taylor arrives at the United States Courthouse in Newport News, Va., on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, with her lawyer James Ellenson. Taylor, the mother of a 6-year-old who shot his teacher in Virginia was sentenced to 21 months in prison for using marijuana while owning a gun. (Billy Schuerman/The Virginian-Pilot via AP)

Taylor’s son told authorities he got his mother’s 9mm handgun by climbing onto a drawer to reach the top of a dresser, where the firearm was in his mom’s purse. 

He concealed the weapon in his backpack and then his pocket before shooting his teacher, Abby Zwerner, in front of her first-grade class.

Taylor initially told investigators she had secured her gun with a trigger lock, but investigators said they never found one.

Her sentencing Friday comes a month after Taylor was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for using marijuana while owning a firearm.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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