OAN’s Noah Herring
3:28 PM – Tuesday, June 20, 2023
The parents of two separate kids killed in the mass shooting at The Christian Covenant School have filed declarations against the potential release of the school shooter’s writings.
The parents of Evelyn Dieckhaus and William Kinney filed the declarations along with parents of the children who survived the shooting that took place on March 27th, 2023.
“As if it wasn’t enough to lose my baby, we have been robbed of our privacy by the media who have relentlessly cold called our friends and family, parked outside our homes, harassed me at work, asked to photograph my child’s room, and even surreptitiously entered churches and my home,” said Erin Kinney, the mother of one of the victims.
Kinney continued, saying that people who are demanding the release of the shooter’s writings were helping the shooter accomplish “immortality,” as she described her responsibility to protect the surviving victims from “the unfathomable trauma of encountering sensitive material about the deaths of their siblings, friends, teachers; and most certainly to protect them from ever encountering the hateful, diseased words of the monster who slaughtered six human beings in their school.”
Kinney also argued that the mass murderer should not get to speak from the grave “while our three children, along with the three adult victims are silenced in this life.”
“I want to go back to March 26 and enjoy my family as it was – intact, vibrant, and whole – before an individual I have never met rampaged The Covenant School, savagely destroying my child’s life and the lives of friends and beloved teachers and staff,” the grieving mother said.
Parents Katy and Michael Diekhaus expressed how their “life and family has been turned upside down” since losing their child in the shooting. They also maintained that they lie in bed every night with their eldest remaining daughter, in order to console her.
Parents of several of the survivors who attend The Covenant School wrote about the social, emotional, and physical trauma that their children continue to experience in their declaration. The parents wrote that they fear their children will purportedly have to suffer though more if the writings are released.
“Please do not release these writings and cause further victimization and pain to my children – they have already suffered enough,” said Jennifer Nelson, the mother of two of the students who survived the shooting.
Petitioners who are in support of the manifesto being released argued that the documents are public records and that the First Amendment allows it, along with the Tennessee Constitution, which grants public access to the records in a brief filed last week. They also argue that the other parents do not have a standing in the case. Judge I’Ashea L. Myles granted the right of allowing parents, the school, and conjoined church to intervene.
Others who knew and went to school with Audrey Hale, like Mia Phillips who spoke to reporters, said that her and her friends remember Hale being very timid, obsessive, and occasionally “stalker-ish” to the other girls on the basketball team. Hale expressed a dislike for her school, its administrators, and she generally had trouble making friends.
The briefing regarding the manifesto ruffled some feathers between opposing parents who demanded that the manifesto be released immediately.
“The Intervenors also allege the potential for certain types of damage which are unproven. They offer no proof from any learned treatise or expert in support of the allegations. In essence, their allegations are basically their wishes. Appellate courts in Tennessee have found no legal authority supporting an exclusion from the Tennessee Public Records Act for an otherwise public record based upon the wishes of citizens involved,” the briefing said.
A “show cause” hearing has been scheduled for July 12th to hear from both parties involved before Myles will decide whether or not the writings will be released.
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