Michigan School Shooter’s Attorney Says Shooting Was an 'Isolated Incident'


ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. — The attorney for accused Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley told a judge Monday that the teen doesn't pose a danger to other children and asked that he be moved from the Oakland County Jail into a youth facility.

"I honestly do not believe my client should be considered a menace to other juveniles," Crumbley's attorney Paulette Loftin said during a brief hearing Monday before 52nd District Judge Nancy Carniak.

Loftin added of her 15-year-old client, who is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the Nov. 30 rampage that left four students dead and seven people injured: "He doesn't have a history of assaulting kids his age. This one isolated incident is all that we're looking at today."

Monday's hearing was scheduled as a probable cause conference, although because of a large amount of evidence in the case, attorneys and Crumbley agreed to adjourn the conference until 9 a.m. on Jan. 7.

Throughout Monday's livestreamed hearing, Crumbley, his face covered in a white mask, sat quietly, with an Oakland County Sheriff's deputy standing nearby.

Loftin's request to have Crumbley sent to the Children's Village facility in Pontiac, which the judge denied, came after Deborah McKelvy, who was appointed Crumbley's guardian, made a similar plea to the court.

McKelvy said Crumbley could hear other adult inmates, which is a violation of the statute that allows juveniles to be housed in the adult jail.

"His charges are not unique, and there have other children at the Village charged with this offense," McKelvy said. "I'm not being humorous by saying this, but he could still be in school. There are many things he can't get at the jail."

Assistant Oakland County Prosecutor Marc Keast said Crumbley's alleged crime "cannot be compared to any other case this court or county has seen before."

"This was a mass murder in a school," Keast said. "This was premeditated; it was planned. The defendant didn't just attack other individuals — he targeted juveniles."

In rejecting the request to move Crumbley, the judge said: "I still feel strongly that his conduct could be a menace to other juveniles. I think his placement is appropriate."

The judge said she was concerned that Crumbley potentially could hear adult inmates, and Keast said he would contact Oakland County Jail officials to ensure compliance with the statute.

Crumbley, who was charged as an adult, faces 24 felony charges: one count of terrorism causing death, four counts of first-degree premeditated murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, and 12 counts of felony firearm. He faces up to life in prison without parole if convicted.

The Detroit News reported Sunday that Crumbley and his parents, James, 45, and Jennifer Crumbley, 43, who face four counts each of involuntary manslaughter, are deliberately estranged. Loftin does not plan to cooperate with the parents' legal team.

"The charges are vastly different," Loftin wrote in a Sunday email to the Detroit News. "The cases will never be heard together."

The government argues that James and Jennifer Crumbley bought the pistol for Ethan as an early Christmas present but failed to secure the weapon at home.

James and Jennifer Crumbley on Tuesday are due in 52nd District Court for a probable cause conference before Judge Julie Nicholson.

All three Crumbleys are behind housed at the Oakland County Jail. Ethan is being held without bond, while James and Jennifer were both given $500,000 bonds, but have yet to post them.

The four Oxford High School students killed in the shooting are Hana St. Juliana, 14; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; and Justin Shilling, 17.

Six of the seven surviving victims are back home from the hospital, and police say the seventh was recently downgraded from the intensive care unit.


(c)2021 The Detroit News

Visit The Detroit News at www.detnews.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.