There are new updates in the trial against suspected Oxford High School shooter, Ethan Crumbley.
Crumbley was a 15-year-old sophomore at Oxford High School. On November 30, Ethan allegedly took the gun his parents bought him and killed four of his classmates. Three students were declared dead at the scene of the shooting: Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; Hana St. Juliana, 14. Justin Shilling, 17, passed away from his injuries in the hospital the following morning.
Crumbley is facing twenty-four charges: four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, twelve counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and one count of terrorism causing death, which is almost unheard of in a school shooting.
Oxford High School Suspect To Plead Insanity
According to the Detroit Free Press, Crumbley has entered an insanity plea to the Oakland County Circuit Court.
In a brief filing, his lawyer, Paula Loftin and Amy Hopp wrote, “Please take notice that … Ethan Crumbley intends to assert the defense of insanity at the time of the alleged offense.”
In order to pursue an insanity defense, Crumbley must first receive a psychiatric evaluation. At the time of the filing, the psychiatric evaluation had yet to be performed.
The move does not come as a surprise to many following the case. Defense attorney Mike Rataj, who has been following the case, said that he had expected an insanity plea from Crumbley’s lawyers.
“I don’t have all the facts,” Rataj said. “I don’t have contact with the client. But, from a distance, it seems to be that this is the most prudent form of action.”
“Sometimes it flies, sometimes it doesn’t,” he added.
“It’s going to come down to a battle of the experts and whether the jury is going to believe that the kid cannot formulate the necessary intent because he’s insane,” he continued. “People who are schizophrenic… that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not guilty by reason of insanity.”
Prosecutors Paint Ethan Crumbley As More Than Just A Troubled Teen
The highly-publicized shooting has made headlines due to the charges against Ethan Crumbley’s parents: Jennifer Crumbley and James Crumbley. Each is facing four counts of involuntary manslaughter. Prosecutors argue that Crumbley’s parents were negligent in locking up their weapon, as well as caring for Crumbley’s mental state.
During a recent public hearing, prosecutors revealed new evidence against the Crumbley couple. During the hearing, prosecutors alleged that Ethan would frequently text his mother whenever he was home alone because he believed there were ghosts and demons in the house.
Prosecutors also say that Ethan kept a baby bird’s head in a jar on his bedroom floor. They say it is Ethan who later left this jar in a school bathroom; however, superintendent Tim Throne has refuted these claims and said that they do not believe that Ethan is behind that incident. They also claim that Ethan is not involved with a severed deer’s head that was found in the school’s courtyard in early November.
During the hearing, prosecutors added that Ethan had filmed himself torturing animals and his phone and had taught himself how to make Molotov cocktails.
Cornell University Psychologist Weighs In
Ethan Crumbley red flags:
🚩searched guns online
🚩searched school shootings online
🚩bought Nazi propaganda online
🚩made Molotov cocktails
🚩sketched out what he planned to do
🚩filmed himself killing animals
🚩kept a severed bird’s head in his room
His parents got HIM a gun. pic.twitter.com/X33W3A2Y7n
— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) January 8, 2022
Dr. Ziv Cohen, a Cornell University psychiatrist who has served as a consultant in over 50 murder cases, weighed in on the Ethan Crumbley case.
Cohen said that the legal definition of insanity requires providing that Ethan was so out of touch with reality that he didn’t understand the consequences of his actions.
“It’s a pretty high threshold you have to cross,” Cohen said. He added that “less than 1% of insanity defenses actually work.”
Cohen added that a jury might feel more compassionate towards Ethan, given that he is only fifteen years old. Cohen said that it is possible that a judge could also give him a lighter sentence due to his age. Cohen provided an example of how an insanity defense can work in a courtroom.
He gave the example of a schizophrenic person shooting a police officer because he thought the police officer was an alien invader. That usually falls into the classic example of legal insanity, Cohen said, because they do not understand that they are shooting a human being. However, if a schizophrenic person decides to push someone in front of a subway for no explained reason, that does not fit the criteria for legal insanity, he said.
“Not having a conscience doesn’t reduce your culpability,” Cohen added.