Audrey Hale manifesto: Families of Nashville Christian school victims claim they own doc in fight over release

Audrey Hale manifesto: Families of Nashville Christian school victims claim they own doc in fight over release

Can the estate of a mass murderer assert a posthumous copyright claim over the killer’s handwritten confession?

A Nashville judge is expected to weigh that issue today as part of a public records lawsuit against the city and its police department seeking the release of Audrey Elizabeth Hale’s manifesto in connection with the Covenant Christian School massacre.

When Hale died, her parents transferred her estate to her victims' families. The families have intervened in the public records lawsuit against the city and are arguing that the estate includes the killer's manifesto and that therefore they own the copyright.

Through that line of reasoning, they are also asking the judge to block its public release.

"You can't just assume there is a copyright interest on any particular writing," argued Doug Pierce, an attorney for plaintiffs Clata Renee Brewer and the National Police Association. "The only way they could get copyright protection established is if they would have to show the documents in federal court — in other words, they gotta let the cat out of the bag."

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Audrey Hale walks through Covenant School
Suspect Audrey Hale, a transgender woman, walks through the halls of Covenant Presbyterian Church, where she killed 6 people on March 27, 2023.

Hale, a 28-year old transgender artist who police say identified as a male named Aiden, shot her way into the Christian elementary school on the morning of March 27, 2023, and was seen prowling the hallways carrying firearms on surveillance video before responding officers killed her.

The attack claimed the lives of three adults and three children, identified as Mike Hill, 61, Cynthia Peak, 61, Katherine Koonce, 60, and three 9-year-olds, Hallie Scruggs, Evelyn Dieckhaus and William Kinney.

Prior to the shooting, she texted a friend warning that she was about to embark on a suicide mission and that "you'll probably hear about me on the news after I die."

NASHVILLE AUTHORITIES ‘AWARE' OF PURPORTED LEAK OF CHRISTIAN SCHOOL SHOOTER'S MANIFESTO

Shooter messages to friend
A text message exchange between Audrey Hale and a friend shortly before Nashville school shooting.

Shortly after the shooting, Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake said cops had recovered a manifesto and hand-drawn maps in the killer’s car.

Authorities said they would soon be made public. A year later, both city police and the FBI continue to deny public records requests, claiming the manifesto is exempt from release because if it were to be made public, it could harm a potential investigation.

Even if the judge sides with the plaintiffs, an appeal is likely, and the document won't be made public any time soon.

"Every day, the public is being denied the right of access," Pierce said.

NASHVILLE KILLER AUDREY HALE SLEPT WITH JOURNALS ON SCHOOL SHOOTINGS UNDER BED, COURT DOCS REVEAL

Nashville school shooter firearms
One of the three guns police said Nashville school shooter Audrey Hale used during the attack on the Covenant Christian School.

Multiple lawsuits have asked the courts to force the government to release the document, arguing that Hale was the only suspect and noting that she died at the scene when responding officers neutralized her on the school’s second floor.

"Obviously there's no pending investigation," Pierce told Fox News Digital. "It's been 13 months, and they've always said the only person involved is the shooter who died at the scene."

AUDREY HALE POLICE BODYCAMS RELEASED

In a separate federal lawsuit brought by the parent company of a local newspaper, a judge ordered the FBI to file the manifesto under seal so the court could review it while deciding whether the feds have a legal argument to validate the shroud of secrecy.

Audrey Hale photo
Audrey Hale was identified by police as the shooter who opened fire at the Covenant School, killing six people.

The manifesto is expected to reveal more about the killer's motive and rage.

Several pages believed to have come from the document leaked in November. However, the lawsuits are seeking the full extent of Hale's writings.

Critics have questioned the government's motive behind continued delays in its release.


Original article source: Audrey Hale manifesto: Families of Nashville Christian school victims claim they own doc in fight over release