NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The debate over whether The Covenant School shooter‘s writings should be released to the public continued Thursday morning during a court hearing.
Attorneys arguing for and against the release of the writings spent hours debating whether the court should proceed after a motion to stay was filed by the petitioning parties, including the city of Nashville and attorneys for The Covenant School, Covenant Church, and Covenant parents.
A motion to stay is a legal request asking the court to temporarily halt or suspend a portion or the entirety of the legal proceedings. The judge and some attorneys noted that there is little existing case law, or precedent, to refer back to in order to make a decision in this case.
Amid the arguments, the shooter’s family attorney, David Raybin, made an announcement regarding the legal ownership of 28-year-old Audrey Hale‘s writings.
The shooter’s family is in the process of giving legal ownership of the documents seized from the Brightwood Avenue home and the shooter’s car, including Hale’s so-called “manifesto,” to the children of The Covenant School, according to Raybin.
Raybin said the paperwork will be completed by next week. However, the Metro Nashville Police Department still has possession of the documents, and the court will ultimately rule on whether the writings should be released to the public. It is unclear what other impacts this may have.
According to police, the collective writings found in Hale’s vehicle left in the school parking lot, and others found during the home search, show Hale spent months planning to commit mass murder at The Covenant School. Hale also considered “the actions of other mass murderers.”
During the search, investigators also seized what they described as a psych medical folder, two shotguns, multiple Covenant School yearbooks and a suicide note. Hale was reportedly under doctor’s care for an “emotional disorder.”
The search of the Brightwood Avenue home took place just hours after the shooting on March 27. Six people, including three children, were shot and killed by 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. According to police, a total of 152 rounds were fired by the shooter before Hale was killed by police.
The court adjourned Thursday with the judge planning to do more research before reaching an opinion. During Thursday’s hearing, the judge noted that no matter the ruling, it is likely that the case will go before the Tennessee Court of Appeals and possibly the Supreme Court.