Judge denies James Crumbley’s request to move trial

Posted at 4:59 PM, February 22, 2024

PONTIAC, Mich. (Scripps News Detroit) — A judge has denied a request from James Crumbley to move his upcoming trial. Judge Cheryl Matthews issued her ruling on Thursday, a week after the request came in.

James Crumbley

James Crumbley appears in court at a pre-trial hearing on Dec. 13, 2023. (Court TV)

James’ defense attorney, Mariell Lehman, argued that he couldn’t get a fair trial in Oakland County due to widespread publicity around the case and his wife, Jennifer’s, recent conviction on manslaughter charges in connection to the Oxford High School shooting.

He is also facing four charges of involuntary manslaughter and is accused of making a gun accessible to his son, the shooter, and failing to get mental health care.

Jury selection in the trial is set to begin on March 5. In Jennifer’s trial, jury selection lasted two days and the total trial lasted about two weeks.

In court on Wednesday, Lehman and James learned that prosecutors want to call two former students to the stand.

RELATED: James Crumbley: Former Students Taking Stand is ‘Prejudicial’

“While I can’t imagine what those two students went through on November 30, 2021, their testimony is not relevant in the trial against James Crumbley,” Lehman said, Crumbley’s defense attorney. “He’s been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. He’s not charged with assaulting anyone with a firearm. He’s not charged with shooting anyone and wounding anyone. He’s charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter for the actions of his son.”

A brick sign that says 'Oxford High School' is adorned with flowers and candles and two people hug in front of it. There is snow on the ground.

FILE – Students hug at a memorial at Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich., Dec. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

The two former students, both now over the age of 18, survived the gunshot wounds inflicted upon them by Crumbley’s then 15-year-old son.

The assistant prosecutor on the case, Marc Keast, said the two students would provide testimony different from that of a teacher, who was also shot, and the assistant principal who saw Crumbley’s son walking down the hallway with the gun in his hand.

“When we have actual eyewitness testimony available, it is important for the jury to hear that perspective,” said Keast, adding that the families of the former students have said that they would be able and willing to testify if called to the stand.

This story was originally published by Scripps News Detroit, an E.W. Scripps Company.