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Parents of accused Michigan school shooter expect to call him as witness in their own trial, attorney says


Jennifer and James Crumbley have each been charged with four counts of manslaughter after their teenage son allegedly shot and killed four students and injured seven others at Oxford High School in November. They both pleaded not guilty and their attorneys argued in court papers that the charges had no legal basis and that the couple should not be held responsible for the murders their son is accused of committing.

On Monday, attorney Shannon Smith said the Crumbleys planned to call their son to testify on “extraneous matters that are material to the case.”

“We need him as a witness in this trial,” Smith said in Oakland County District Court, later adding, “He can answer questions that aren’t covered by the Fifth Amendment.”

Oakland County Assistant District Attorney Marc Keast responded that he could not “conceive the possibility that the defendant’s son could testify in this case.”

The exchange was prompted by Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Matthews asking if the two sides were still able to start the trial on Oct. 24.

Smith said they had a problem because Ethan Crumbley’s trial had been postponed to January 17, 2023, due to the volume of evidence, and his attorney and the judge assigned to that case wanted his parents’ trial to go ahead. takes place before his. CNN has reached out to Ethan Crumbley’s attorney for comment.

Prosecutor Karen McDonald also asked if this was a way for the accused shooter to highlight his alleged role and diminish any involvement from his parents.

“It’s not about the defendants wanting to throw their son under the bus or make him look bad. It’s about our clients defending the case,” Smith said. “When the prosecution accuses the defense of being selfish in wanting to defend the case, we are going to be selfish all day. We agree. Because selfishly, we have to protect their rights.”

During Monday’s hour-long hearing, Matthews issued several rulings related to the case, including denying a motion to move Crumbley’s trial out of Oakland County, saying pretrial publicity does not warrant a change of venue as it is “reserved for circumstances where adverse publicity is so pervasive and inflammatory that jurors cannot be believed when they assert, they cannot be impartial.”

The judge also barred both sides from speaking publicly about the case, raising concerns among prosecutors, who said they want to be able to correct any misrepresentations made in the press about the case to avoid upsetting the public. victims.

“It’s not your job to correct the statement,” Matthews said in response. “It’s your job to give the defense a fair trial and that’s what you’re going to do.”

Judge Matthews also ruled that the alleged shooter’s diary, which was found in his backpack at school after the shooting, would be admissible as evidence because it indicates his state of mind.

“‘I have access to the gun and ammunition,'” Matthews said, reading a passage from Ethan Crumbley’s diary that prosecutors want to use as evidence. “‘I want to help but my parents don’t listen to me so I can’t get help. My mental issues don’t help me and it makes me shoot the (expletive) school. My parents won’t no. listen to me for help or a therapist.””

In another section read by the court judge, the alleged shooter wrote that he considered calling 911, but did not do so because he was afraid of angering his parents.

Parents of accused Michigan school shooter expect to call him as witness in their own trial, attorney says

The judge also read a text message Ethan Crumbley sent to an anonymous friend: “‘I actually asked my dad to take me to the doctor yesterday but he just gave me pills and m said to suck it. Like, it’s at the point that I ask to go to the doctor. My mom laughed when I told her, but I have bad insomnia right now and paranoia. I need help.'”

Additionally, Matthews decided to allow questions about horses and riding, but refused to admit any about Jennifer and James Crumbely’s extramarital affairs.

CNN’s Sonia Moghe and Polo Sandoval contributed to this report.


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