Lawyers seek to prevent Oxford school shooter from testifying in parents’ trials

Posted at 1:13 PM, January 23, 2024

PONTIAC, Mich. (Scripps News Detroit/Court TV) — New lawyers for the Oxford High School shooter say they will advise him not to testify in the trials for his parents, according to court documents.

In a letter to Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Matthews from the State Appellate Defender Office dated January 22, assistant defenders Jacqueline Ouvry and Alison Swain say they have been assigned to represent him and that “Given Ethan Crumbley’s ongoing appeal and the substantial overlap in the subject matter in these three cases, we will advise Ethan to invoke his right to remain silent, should he be called to testify in either pending trial.”

Oxford High School is shown in Oxford, Mich., Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

James and Jennifer Crumbley each face up to 60 years in prison for failing to stop their son from killing four of his classmates.

Legal experts nationwide are expected to watch the trials closely, as they’re likely to have far-reaching implications for how future school shooter cases are handled by prosecutors.

Key evidence in the trials is expected to include how the shooter’s parents secured the gun he later used to commit the mass shooting along with his cries for help.

By charging each parent with involuntary manslaughter, the prosecution needs to prove two things: first, that the Crumbleys were grossly negligent—meaning they knew about the dangers posed by allowing their son access to a gun—and second, that the gun coupled with their son’s cries for help made the Oxford shooting a foreseeable tragedy.

Jury selection for Jennifer Crumbley got underway Tuesday morning.

Read the full letter here.

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