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The attorney for the parents of The Covenant School school shooter notified a court on Thursday that they intend to assign rights of the manifesto to the families of the victims, according to NewsChannel 5.
The news came during a hearing for a lawsuit seeking the release of the writings. The attorney for the killer’s parents reportedly said the documents should be the property of the families and that ownership would be transferred by the end of the week. Once the request goes through, it’s likely the manifesto will not be made public, the outlet reports.
“If they own the papers, then they have standing over whether they will be released or not,” the attorney said.
Those who do not want the manifesto to be released, including the school and a group of parents, cite security and safety concerns of the students and staff. Five groups are requesting the documents’ release, including the National Police Association, Tennessee Firearms Association, The Tennessee Star, The Tennessean newspaper, and State Sen. Todd Gardenhire, NewsChannel 5 reports.
The groups argue that since the manifesto is already in the custody of the Metro Nashville Police Department, it’s essentially already public record. The documents in question were recovered from the shooter’s car and residence.
The ownership of these writings transferred to the parents of the killer after her death, The Tennessean reports. Under this new development, the ownership would now transfer to the victims’ parents, even though the physical papers would remain in the custody of the Nashville Police Department.
Two weeks ago, Judge I’Ashea Myles permitted groups of Covenant School parents to “intervene” in the public records lawsuit, The Daily Wire previously reported, with an attorney for the groups arguing that the parents are victims and have a constitutional right to be free from harassment.
Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake said in April that the records would be released, but later reversed course and cited the public records lawsuit.
“Due to pending litigation filed this week, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department has been advised by counsel to hold in abeyance the release of records related to the shooting at the Covenant School pending orders or direction of the court,” a statement said.
On March 27, 2023, the 28-year-old female, who The Daily Wire is not naming to avoid giving notoriety to shooters, carried out a mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville, killing three children and three adults. Those victims include Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9; Hallie Scruggs, 9; William Kinney, 9; Cynthia Peak, 61; Katherine Koonce, 60; and Mike Hill, 61.
Federal and local authorities searched the property of the shooter, where they found five laptops, a suicide note, two memoirs, five Covenant School yearbooks, and seven cellphones, according to a search warrant.
Tennessee House Republicans sent a letter to the Nashville chief of police asking for releasing the writings and toxicology reports for the trans-identifying shooter earlier in May, saying the information is vital to understanding the killer’s motives before a special session called by Republican Governor Bill Lee.
“In view of this Court order, it is inaccurate to allege that Metro alone now controls whether documents are released. We cannot do so at this time without violating a court order,” Metro Nashville Director of Law Wally Dietz said in response.
Brandon Drey contributed to this report.