Mom of student who shot teacher pleads guilty to possessing gun as cannabis user

AP Photo/Hans Pennink

Hunter Biden’s attorneys may be hoping to challenge the federal prohibition on unlawful users of drugs and gun ownership, but the mother of a 6-year-old who brought her gun to a Virginia school and shot his teacher has accepted a plea deal offered by the DOJ and will plead guilty to the same charge that Biden’s potentially facing for his own gun purchase while he using crack cocaine.


Deja Taylor had no criminal record when she purchased the handgun at retail in July of 2022, almost a year after Virginia decriminalized recreational marijuana use. But as the ATF recently reminded Minnesota gun owners after Gov. Tim Walz signed a legalization bill into law, just because you can toke up without violating state law doesn’t mean you’re free and clear from any federal prosecution. While Taylor is also facing state-level charges of child neglect and recklessly leaving a firearm to endanger a child, given the high-profile nature of Taylor’s son shooting his teacher Abigail Zwerner I suspect the DOJ wanted to use this case to show they’re “getting tough” on gun offenders and this particular count was the easiest charge they could come up with.

Taylor was charged in U.S. District Court in Newport News on Monday by way of a criminal “information” — often a preliminary kind of charging document written by a prosecutor — rather than an indictment by a grand jury.
Her attorney, James Ellenson, said he had been in discussions with prosecutors about the charges in recent weeks.
“The information was an agreed procedure which eliminated the need for the government to take the case to a grand jury,” he wrote in a news release Monday. “Our action follows very constructive negotiations we had with federal authorities.”
The maximum sentence for the two federal charges is 25 years combined, but discretionary sentencing guidelines would be significantly less.
Taylor is expected to plead guilty to both charges by way of a plea agreement in the coming weeks, the attorney added.
“The terms of the plea agreement will be disclosed at the time of the plea hearing,” Ellenson said. “We intend to present mitigating evidence that we trust the Court will view favorably at sentencing.” The judge assigned to the case, Chief U.S. District Judge Mark S. Davis, is expected to sentence Taylor later this year.
Taylor is facing up to six years in prison on the charges filed by the local Commonwealth’s Attorney in Virginia, which is probably far more time than she’ll receive for her guilty plea in federal court. Last year a Connecticut man who pleaded guilty to possessing and building machine guns as a heroin user received just nine months behind bars, and I suspect that Taylor’s eventual sentence will be similar.
While the feds have resolved Taylor’s case, the potential charges against Hunter Biden have yet to be filed despite the fact that prosecutors have supposedly been “close” to wrapping up their investigation for months and, according to various unnamed sources, believe they’ve got the evidence to show that Biden was unlawfully using drugs when he purchased a handgun from a gun store in Delaware in October, 2018. Given that Biden himself admitted to using crack cocaine during that time period in his memoir published in 2021, it would seem to be slam dunk to charge the president’s son for possessing a firearm while an unlawful user of drugs, but so far he’s managed to avoid prosecution unlike Taylor and other defendants.
At this point Taylor may be out of federal prison by the time the U.S. Attorney investigating Biden gets around to filing any charges against him, and I’m not holding my breath that Biden will ever get his day in court. I suspect that if he ever does face formal charges, a plea deal is already in the works that would allow for some minimal consequences while allowing the federal prohibition on gun ownership for unlawful users of drugs to go unchallenged, but at this point I wouldn’t be surprised if the feds choose not to charge him at all. Biden’s DOJ may be looking to make an example out of people like Deja Taylor, but for now, at least, it sure seems like they’re looking to give Hunter Biden a break.

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