Ethan Crumbley’s attorneys are planning to use an insanity defense for the teenager, who was 15 at the time of the Oxford high school shooting. Before the shooting a disciplinary meeting was held with the student’s parents where officials discussed disturbing drawings of dead, bleeding students found in his possession.
He is being charged as an adult in the state due to the severity of the crime. He faces 24 charges including terrorism and four counts of first-degree murder.
Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; Hana St. Juliana, 14; and Justin Shilling, 17, were killed in the shooting, with another six students and one teacher wounded. It was the deadliest recorded school shooting of 2021, and the worst since 2018.
In order to win on a defense of insanity, Ethan Crumbley’s attorneys will have to prove that the 15-year-old’s attack on Oxford High School was not premeditated.
Previous court proceedings for Ethan Crumbley created a disturbing picture of a teen very much on the wrong track – obsessing about demons, experimenting with Molotov cocktails, and “just kidding” about a school shooting.
These troubling warning signs pointed to the fact that Jennifer and James Crumbley, Ethan’s parents, were potentially negligent. They did not warn the school about red flags, and they refused to take their son home after the disciplinary meeting.
In March 2021, Ethan texted his mother about “demons” and “ghosts” in the house multiple times. According to Fox News, it would sometimes take Jennifer Crumbley hours to reply.
Video found on the 15-year-old’s phone also indicated that he was torturing animals at that home in May 2021 and practiced making a Molotov cocktail.
Ethan Crumbley kept a Nazi coin in his room that he had ordered from Amazon and drew swastikas in a notebook that his parents saw, argued prosecutor Marc Keast.
Text messages to a friend also later revealed that he wrote it was time to shoot up the school, though he then softened this with a “jk,” the accepted internet shorthand for “just kidding.”
However, Keast emphasized, his parents “did not intervene.”
“They did not schedule therapy,” he continued. “Instead, they bought him what he desperately wanted … a handgun.”
The attorneys for James and Jennifer Crumbley wrote, “The last thing they expected was that a school shooting would take place, or that their son would be responsible.”
The parents’ attorneys said that a bond of $100,000 each would be sufficient to ensure the Crumbleys don’t flee. The prosecution contended that the Crumbleys already have attempted to flee.
On Dec. 1, she said, they checked into a hotel, made contact to discuss the sale of horses, and withdrew $2,000 from their bank. McDonald said the couple then drove to an art studio in Detroit and texted with the owner of the building about how they needed provisions: socks and bedding included. They were arrested there on Dec. 4.
Ethan Crumbley waived his right to a preliminary hearing that would force the state to show probable cause for prosecuting him. According to CNN, the judge entered a plea of not guilty during Ethan Crumbley’s arraignment at the request of his attorney.