Judge to rule Wednesday whether Covenant parents can join lawsuit over shooter’s writings

The parents plan to ask the judge to block the release of the writings.
WSMV4 Investigate's Stacey Cameron reports.
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 4:10 PM CDT|Updated: May. 22, 2023 at 5:06 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A judge will rule Wednesday whether Covenant School parents will be allowed to join a lawsuit over whether the writings of school shooter Audrey Hale can be released to the public.

In court papers filed May 17, the parents said that if they’re allowed to join, they will ask the judge to permanently block the release of the shooter’s writings to the public. First, they need Judge I’Ashea L. Myles to allow them to become a named party in the case. It was decided during a hearing Monday that Myles would rule by Wednesday whether the parents can join the lawsuit.

The group of parents, including the parents of the three children killed, filed a motion saying they have a right to be heard regarding the documents’ release because if the writings go public, they will suffer continued trauma and harm.

During the hearing, the parents’ lawyer argued that as victims of a crime, state law gives them the right to be heard.

The two groups suing to get the writings released, the Tennessee Firearms Association and National Police Association, along with Metro’s lawyers met Monday regarding the writings and lawsuit. Metro lawyers said they plan to release part of the writings but need time to make redactions.

Those groups argued the parents, as private citizens, have no right to block the release of public records.

Metro’s lawyers have only turned over one batch of the records, including the shooter’s journal, for the judge’s private screening, saying much of what’s been requested is still part of an open police investigation. The lawyers add they won’t be turning over any more records before a planned hearing on June 8. That’s when the judge was supposed to decide what gets released and what remains under seal.

WSMV4 Investigates Stacey Cameron explains those unidentified records will now be seen by lawyers only, at least for now, on June 8.