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Nashville school shooter Audrey Hale’s manifesto can’t be released:


A lengthy manifesto written by Nashville school shooter Audrey Hale won’t be released to the public because its copyright now belongs to her victims’ loved ones, a judge has ruled.

Families of the three children and three staffers gunned down last year by Hale, 28, at the private Christian Covenant School can block media outlets’ access to the writings, Chancery Court Judge I’Ashea Myles ruled Thursday night.

“The original writings, journals, art, photos and videos created by Hale are subject to an exception to the [Tennessee Public Records Act ] created by the federal Copyright Act,” Myles wrote in court documents.

The ruling comes after Hale’s parents transferred ownership of her writings — which include 20 journals, a “memoir” and suicide note — to the families of the people she murdered in a bid to keep them out of the public eye.

The victims’ loved ones then argued in court that they should be allowed to determine who has access to Hale’s musings, which news outlets and other groups believe will offer clues into her disturbing motives.

Interest in Hales’ writings stem from the assertion by police that she was “assigned female at birth” but may have identified as a transgender man.

Some have speculated that Hale may have hated the Christian belief system at the school, which she formerly attended.

But the judge also found that the risk of inspiring copycats by releasing her manifesto was of “grave concern.”

“Hale used the writings of other perpetrators in similar crimes to guide how this plan was constructed and accomplished, mimicking some not only in their methodology, but also choice of weapons and targets,” Myles wrote. “Hale even held past perpetrators out as heroes in their attacks, idolizing them.”

Audrey Hale killed three kids and three Covenant School staffers in March 2023. ZUMAPRESS.com

Some of the victims’ families cheered the ruling on Friday.

“The last year and a half without Cindy has been difficult. But today brings a measure of relief in our family. Denying the shooter some of the notoriety she sought by releasing her vile and unfiltered thoughts on the world is a result everyone should be thankful for,” the family of Cindy Peak, a 61-year-old staffer killed by Hale, said in a statement.

A records request for Hale’s writings — which were collected during a police investigation — were previously denied, prompting several groups to sue.

Along with news outlets, a gun rights group, a law enforcement nonprofit and Tennessee State Sen. Todd Gardenhire also demanded that Hale’s writings be released.

Audrey Hale left behind 20 journals, a “memoir” and a suicide note. Metro Nashville Police
Police asserted that Hale was “assigned female at birth” but may have identified as a transgender man. YouTube/Nossi College

Armed with two rifles and a handgun, Hale killed 9-year-olds Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney in March 2023.

She also gunned down school staffers Cynthia Peak, 61; Katherine Koonce, 60; and Mike Hill, 61, before she was fatally shot by police.

Myles’ ruling is expected to be appealed.

Critics said her finding is a blow to government transparency.

Covenant School parents and their attorneys huddle in prayer outside a courtroom before a hearing to decide whether Hale’s documents and journals can be released to the public, on April 17, 2024. AP
Some have speculated that Hale may have hated the Christian belief system at the school she formerly attended. AP

“To say that evidence collected by police can be copyrighted by the criminal, or the surviving parent or spouse of the criminal, does not bode well for the transparency of the police or the judicial system,” said Deborah Fisher, executive director of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government.

With Post wires



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