Lawyer argues Audrey Hale writings should be released

A hearing began Tuesday in Tennessee on the merits of the book written by Audrey Hale, who killed three children and three adults at Nashville’s Covenant School in March 2023 before being shot and killed by police.

The hearing comes after various media companies and free speech groups have argued that Hale’s writings, including at least 20 magazines, a suicide note, and an unpublished memoir, should be made public. This was done after much controversy.

In court on Tuesday, Judge Iashei Miles said he wanted to “make sure everything is done thoroughly” so that both sides “have time for everyone to put forward their best arguments.”

Attorney Doug Pearce, who is arguing for the release of the documents on behalf of the National Police Association, said the burden of proof is on those seeking to prevent the documents from being released, not on those seeking to release them.

shooting victims. Top from left. William Kinney, Evelyn Diekhaus, Harry Scruggs. From bottom to left. Cynthia Peek, Katherine Koonce, Mike Hill.

“We live in an open, democratic society, a government of the people, for the people, and this concept of openness permeates all government information…information is available to the people,” he told the court. There is a strong general principle that it can be done.”

He said that while there are exceptions to the public records law, they do not apply in this case.

Pearce continued, “The incontrovertible evidence in this case shows that this type of information can save lives. The writing can be studied and avoided in other cases, especially when it comes to school violence.” There is a track record of

When the judge pointed out that the reverse could also be true, Justice Pearce said the case against copycat crime was weak and research showed that the time span for such acts is very short. .

Covenant schools and the church strongly opposed the publication of the works and filed suit to keep the documents from public release.

Audrey Hale killed six people on a rampage last year. via Reuters

After the shooting, Hale’s parents transferred the 28-year-old’s assets to the families of the six murder victims.

In one of the more confusing legal arguments being put forward, lawyers for these families argued that they own the copyright to the material and should be able to say whether it is published. .

Peter Klett, an attorney representing Covenant Christian Elementary School, reiterated later in the lawsuit how parents feared the killer’s manifesto could lead to another massacre.

“We believe it is wrong to provide this particular shooter with an opportunity to gain notoriety and fame,” Klett argued. “We believe it will encourage more violence. If we can prevent even one school shooting, it will be worth it.”

In the March 2023 shooting, Hale, who was transgender, killed three 9-year-olds at the former Christian school: Evelyn Diekhaus, Harry Scruggs, and William Kinney.

A still image of surveillance footage from the shooting scene. Nashville Metropolitan Police Department De/AFP (via Getty Images)

She also shot and killed three school employees. Principal Katherine Koonce (60) and Principal Katherine Koonce (60). Her guardian, Mike Hill, 61. Cynthia Peek, a 61-year-old substitute teacher, was also shot and killed by police.

The Nashville Metropolitan Police Department has since maintained that the investigation is ongoing and will not release any of Hale’s work until the investigation is concluded, even though the gunman acted alone and was killed at the scene.

“The answer Metro has given so far is that there is an ongoing criminal investigation, but the facts and other statements show that the only person identified in the criminal activity is conducting the criminal investigation. “Some people may have questions, knowing that he has been dead for a month,” said John of the Tennessee Firearms Association, which is suing to have the documents released. Chairman Harris previously told the Post.

Mr Justice Miles said he expected a “strong” rebuttal on Wednesday morning, when the hearing continues, but warned that a decision on whether to publish the manifesto would take more time.