Deja Taylor, 26, is likely looking at a sentence of six months after her six-year-old shot his first-grade teacher in January. Taylor pleaded guilty to felony child neglect on Tuesday (Aug. 15), per multiple reports.
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The 26-year-old reached a plea agreement with prosecutors that could land her in prison for about half a year. By comparison, CNN reports that the maximum statutory sentence for her charge is five years.
However, Judge Chris Papile reportedly reserved the right to sentence Taylor outside the prosecution’s six-month sentencing guidelines. Deja did not speak during today’s court session outside of acknowledging that she understood the proceedings.
Her family lawyer, James Ellenson, expressed the mother’s alleged deep remorse over the incident.
“She feels very responsible, feels very bad,” Ellenson reportedly said following the hearing. “It’s just very emotional, the whole hearing. It’s all just upsetting to everybody.”
Deja Taylor To Be Sentenced This Fall After Her Son Shot His Teacher
According to NBC News, Judge Papile will sentence Deja Taylor on Oct. 27 for the child neglect charge.
Taylor also faces additional time in prison following a second guilty plea related to marijuana use in June. A police investigation into the shooting uncovered that Taylor used marijuana while possessing a firearm, which is illegal in the United States.
Her charges related to the gun include illegally obtaining and possessing the firearm and making a false statement (regarding marijuana use) to buy the gun. These related charges could reportedly mean another 18 to 24 months in prison for Taylor, per NBC News. A judge is expected to sentence her for the gun charges on Oct. 18.
Police say they recovered the narcotics during a court-ordered search of her home. In addition, investigators also recovered text messages that showed the “pervasive scope of Taylor’s marijuana use.”
As previously reported, Taylor’s son shot his teacher, Abigail Zwerner, on Jan. 6 at Richneck Elementary School. She suffered severe wounds hand and upper chest but ultimately survived the shooting. She reportedly spent about two weeks hospitalized.
Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn decided against charging the adolescent in March. Officials factored in his age and inability to competently understand court proceedings.
A grand jury indicted Deja on two charges in April, felony child neglect and recklessly leaving a firearm to endanger a child. Prosecutors dropped the second charge during Taylor’s plea agreement.