NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nearly two months after the deadly Covenant School shooting, a Davidson County judge has ruled The Covenant School, Covenant Presbyterian Church, and Covenant School parents will be able to voice their opposition to the release of the shooter’s writings.
Chancellor I’Ashea Myles has determined the wishes of the school, church, and parents will be considered in the legal dispute.
In a status hearing on Monday, May 22, much of the discussion was focused around the motions to intervene that have been filed by parents of The Covenant School victims. The shooting’s lead detective on the Covenant investigation also submitted a filing, asking for the writings to not be released as the criminal investigation is still active and will likely be ongoing for at least a year.
However, the original order that was released on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 24 did not mention whether the parents will be allowed to voice their thoughts about releasing the shooter’s writings, but a new order issued later that evening did in fact mention that parents will be allowed to voice their opposition to the release of shooter’s so called “manifesto.”
“We’re not trying to hide this from anybody, but there is some really sensitive information in there that we believe should not be produced based on school safety and the fact that there is still an ongoing criminal investigation. So it’s simply not accurate to say there is no ongoing criminal investigation that was made clear today in court,” said Metro Director of Law Wally Dietz.
Those in favor of sharing the documents are independent groups, including the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, the Tennessee Firearms Association and Republican legislators. They claim the investigation is over and not releasing the writings only causes false theories to circulate.
“I submit, Your Honor, that the parents, even the parents of the children who were killed, I say that with respect because I don’t mean to diminish their grief, but they’re not victims of a crime. Their child, who was killed, was certainly the victim of a crime, but the parents were not. The parents who had other children in the school are not victims of a crime and the children who were unharmed and the police got safely out of there, they’re not victims of a crime,” attorney Robb Harvey, who is representing The Tennessean, told the court.
A show cause hearing has been set for June 8.
On March 27, six people, including three children, were shot and killed by 28-year-old Audrey Hale at The Covenant School in Green Hills. The victims were identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all 9 years old; as well as Cynthia Peak, 61; Dr. Katherine Koonce, 60; and Mike Hill, 61.
Investigators executed search warrants the same day of the shooting from the Hale family home. The search of the Brightwood Avenue home took place just hours after the shooting on March 27.
Inside the home, officers found two shotguns, one in a bedroom closet and another next to a desk in a bedroom. A suicide note was found on a desk in one of the bedrooms.
There were also five Covenant School yearbooks taken from the home. Police reported Hale attended The Covenant School at one time.
Investigators also seized what they described as a psych medical folder. Hale was also reportedly under doctor’s care for an “emotional disorder.”
According to police, a total of 152 rounds (126 rifle rounds and 26 nine-millimeter rounds) were fired from the time Hale shot into the school to the time Hale was shot and killed by police.
The collective writings found in Hale’s vehicle left in the school parking lot, and others found during the home search, show Hale documented the planning over a period of months to commit mass murder at The Covenant School. Hale also considered “the actions of other mass murderers.”