Deja Taylor Pleads Guilty to Felony Child Neglect in Connection with Shooting at Richneck Elementary

[NEWPORT NEWS, VA – AUGUST 15, 2023] – Today, in the Circuit Court for Newport News, Deja Nicole Taylor pled guilty to Felony Child Neglect related to the shooting at Richneck Elementary School. Taylor is the mother of the 6-year-old student who brought a gun to school and shot his teacher on January 6, 2023.

Taylor pled guilty to felony child neglect, which is a Class 6 felony and carries a maximum penalty of five years of incarceration. A related misdemeanor charge was dropped as part of the felony guilty plea. The Court has ordered a pre-sentence report and the Commonwealth will not ask the Court to deviate from the sentencing guidelines. Ultimately any sentence of incarceration and any terms of probation or other conditions of the sentence will be decided in the sole discretion of the Judge. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for October 27 at 1:00 PM in Circuit Courtroom #1.

“We are thinking of Ms. Zwerner and all the students & faculty who experienced these events as our office continues its investigation,” said Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn. “The safety of our schools is of paramount importance, and we will continue to support the victims as they work through the effects of this incident.”

Howard E. Gwynn, Commonwealth’s Attorney

Our investigation into the shooting at Richneck Elementary is ongoing. Because the integrity of criminal trials is of utmost importance, this office will not respond to media inquiries regarding the facts of this or any other pending criminal case or investigation.

Related Public Documents

Plea Agreement and Stipulations

Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney
Phone: 757-926-7443
2501 Washington Avenue, 6th Floor
Newport News, VA 23607

Privacy and Accessibility

Virginia FOIA Information

The Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney prosecutes criminal cases that occur within the City of Newport News, on behalf of the citizens of the Commonwealth. The elected Commonwealth’s Attorney is Mr. Howard E. Gwynn.