ROCHESTER HILLS, MI — During Ethan Crumbley’s Tuesday court hearing to decide whether he will stay in a jail or be moved to a youth facility, prosecutors revealed more disturbing details about the teen leading up to the deadly shooting at Oxford High School on Nov. 30, accusing him of “enjoying his dark side.”
In making their case why Crumbley should remain in the Oakland County Jail, prosecutors said he planned the attack well in advance through his journal and text messages with a friend. He even detailed the specific gun he needed to carry out the attack for “maximum kills,” prosecutors said.
Crumbley’s journal also showed the “kinds of people he wanted to kill” and whom he would kill first, as well as a plan for surrendering “to witness the pain and suffering he caused,” prosecutors said.
In addition to accusing Crumbley of plotting and carrying out the deadly attack that killed four students and wounded seven other people, prosecutors said they also found detailed plans to “stalk, rape, torture and eventually kill a female classmate.”
Prosecutors also accused Crumbley of having a fascination with violence, weapons and seeing others suffer, saying he “expressed delight” in torturing a family of baby birds, finding “joy” in hearing the birds scream....................................................................................................................
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Crumbley’s journal expressed his admiration for Adolf Hitler and Jeffrey Dahmer, and he wrote, “when you die, you need to be remembered for a long time doing something that will make people think of you until time ends,” prosecutors said.
The teen also asked officials about receiving his mail — whether fan mail or hate mail — and indicated he wants to know what people are saying about him, according to officials.
“He wants that notoriety,” Assistant Oakland Prosecutor Kelly Collins said. “He wants to be remembered.”
While not disputing the evidence laid out against Crumbley by prosecutors, defense lawyers argued the evidence showed he was mentally unwell and was crying out for help. The attorneys said he was hallucinating and having trouble sleeping for weeks leading up to the deadly attack at Oxford High School on Nov. 30.
“This is someone who was having a mental health crisis, and no one did a thing,” defense attorney Paulette Loftin said. “He had no one in his corner to get the help that he desperately needed.”
In one instance, Loftin said, Crumbley asked his parents to see a therapist but his parents ignored the request. His parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, were each charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the fatal shooting, and they are due back in court Thursday for a continuation of their preliminary exam.
Since Ethan Crumbley faces 24 charges as an adult, he has been housed in the Oakland County Jail, which defense attorneys said is a violation of the statute that prohibits juveniles from being housed with adults in jail. He has pleaded insanity and will go straight to trial.
The defense team also argued that the “extreme isolation” means Ethan Crumbley has “very little access with anyone,” a situation that is causing great harm to his mental health. He only interacts with his lawyers, a psychiatrist and a caseworker he sees once a week. He is housed in a concrete cell with a glass door and no windows or cellmates.
The defense team argued that moving Crumbley to the youth facility would allow him to go to school and get better treatment. But prosecutors argued against the move, as a jail official testified that he believes Crumbley he has everything he needs in jail, including access to a tablet, TV and books, even reading “Harry Potter.” Crumbley can also attend educational classes in the jail.
Furthermore, prosecutors said, Crumbley shouldn’t be placed in the youth facility because it wouldn’t be safe for other at-risk juveniles, “who are potentially the same risk as his victims.” And the manager of Children’s Village, the juvenile detention facility, testified it never has had a case like this and that it could affect other juveniles in that lockup.
“This is a devastating situation, and we don’t know what his presence in our classrooms, how that may trigger or impact other young people,” Children’s Village Manager Heather Calcaterra said. “I would also be concerned about his safety.”
Oakland County Circuit Judge Kwame L. Rowe said he expects to issue his decision early next week whether Crumbley should remain in the Oakland County Jail or be moved to the youth facility. He will also review 18 exhibits and three videos before issuing his decision.