A judge in Tennessee said she would consider input from parents whose children were killed or traumatized in the March school shooting outside Nashville before deciding whether to release the shooter’s manifesto.
Covenant School parents have a right to intervene in a consolidated lawsuit where groups demanded the release of the shooter’s writings, Davidson County Chancery Court Judge I’Ashea Myles said. She will consider their request and testimony before ruling.
“[Parents] stand in a unique position stepping into the shoes of their minor children,” Myles ruled.
Police have declined to release the material since the March 27 killings of three 9-year-olds and three adults by transgender shooter Audrey Hale at the private religious school. Hale fired 152 rounds before being shot dead by police.
Others have asked for the manifesto under Tennessee’s Open Records law.
Metro Nashville Police Lt. Brent Gibson estimated that it could be 12 months before the case is closed.
During a hearing, parents said they and their children were crime victims, adding that under the state’s constitution, they should be free from harassment, intimidation, and abuse throughout the criminal justice system.
Judge Myles also allowed the intervention of The Covenant School and Covenant Presbyterian Church, where the shooting occurred, after lawyers contended release of information could jeopardize security.
More than 60 Tennessee legislators have asked for the release of the writings.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has called a special session of the state’s General Assembly to consider firearms laws after the school massacre.
“It should not take an act of the legislature to secure public records unlawfully withheld from the people of Tennessee,” state Sen. Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) said in a statement.