Deja Taylor, the mother of the 6-year-old boy who shot his first-grade teacher in January, was sentenced on Wednesday to 21 months in prison on federal charges.
Police say on January 6, Deja’s son brought a gun to his Newport News, Virginia elementary school and intentionally shot and wounded his teacher, Abby Zwerner.
Zwerner suffered a gunshot wound through her hand and into her chest.
The teacher testified during Deja Taylor’s sentencing hearing.
She said, “Not only do I bear physical scars from the shooting that will remain with me forever, I contend daily with deep, psychological scars that plague me during most waking moments and invade my dreams.”
Abby Zwerner said she has undergone five surgeries and regular intensive physical therapy to restore motion in her hand.
“This permanent damage should never have been allowed to happen to me and would not have happened if not for the defendant’s actions or lack thereof,” she said.
Zwerner filed a $40 million lawsuit against her school district, accusing them of negligence.
Deja Taylor was charged with using marijuana while in possession of a firearm and making a false statement about her drug use during the purchase of the firearm, both felonies.
She pleaded guilty to the charges in June.
According to prosecutors, Deja’s firearm was also involved in a separate shooting weeks before her son shot his teacher.
An unreturned U-Haul truck that was rented by Deja Taylor was found with the passenger rear window broken.
Text messages between Taylor and her son’s father revealed she shot at her son’s father after seeing him with his girlfriend.
No one was injured in the shooting and the police were not called.
In court filings, prosecutors said, “Not once, but twice someone nearly lost their lives because of Taylor’s offenses of conviction.”
The court filings also stated that Deja Taylor was a “marijuana abuser, whose chronic, persistent and, indeed, life-affecting abuse extends this case far beyond any occasional and/or recreational use.”
In a statement to ABC News Deja Taylor’s attorney Gene Rossi said that she is “extremely remorseful and contrite and takes full responsibility for her actions.”
“At no time did she intend for any of these consequences to occur, especially the tragic shooting of the wonderful teacher at the elementary school,” the attorney said.
“We are hopeful that when she serves her sentence, and when she gets out, she gets the absolutely needed treatment for her addiction, her disease, and the challenges she has in her life. I am confident that she is going to have a wonderful rebound in the near future.”
Deja Taylor was also indicted on state charges in connection to the school shooting.
She pleaded guilty to child neglect in August and has yet to be sentenced.
A misdemeanor charge of endangering a child by reckless storage of a firearm was dropped.
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Source: ABC News