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Oxford High School shooting suspect to pursue insanity defense

The Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office said the insanity plea is “procedural” and will allow for Ethan Crumbley “to get a psychological evaluation."
Image: Shooting At Oxford High School In Michigan Leaves 4 Students Dead
Mourners visit a makeshift memorial Dec. 1 outside Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich.Scott Olson / Getty Images file

Ethan Crumbley, who is charged with killing four people and wounding seven others in a Michigan high school shooting, will plead insanity, new court documents show.

The document, filed Thursday in Oakland County Circuit Court, says Crumbley "intends to assert the defense of insanity at the time of the alleged offense and gives notice of his intention to claim such a defense."

The Oakland County Prosecutor's Office said the plea is "procedural" and that it will allow for Crumbley, 15, "to get a psychological evaluation, which has not yet been done."

Crumbley, a sophomore at Oxford High School, is accused of opening fire just before 1 p.m. on Nov. 30 after he left a bathroom. Students Hana St. Juliana, 14; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; and Justin Shilling, 17, were killed.

Seven other people, including a teacher, were wounded.

Authorities charged Crumbley as an adult with murder and other crimes. He had previously pleaded not guilty to all charges.

His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, were also charged with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter. They are accused of making a gun accessible to their son and refusing to take him home after a meeting before the shooting. They have also pleaded not guilty.

Several lawsuits have been filed. On Thursday, the parents of victim Tate Myre and the parents of other students who witnessed the shooting filed a suit naming Oxford High School’s dean of students, two counselors and three unidentified teachers as defendants.

Crumbley and his parents are also named as defendants.

The complaint alleges that they were negligent in their handling of "concerning, strange and bizarre behavior" Crumbley displayed before the shooting.

Attorneys and representatives for the defendants could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

A federal lawsuit filed in early December that was amended this month alleges that the Oxford Community School District, the high school's principal and several other people knew Crumbley was dangerous before the shooting.

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for Eastern Michigan, accuses the defendants of “gross negligence” and alleges that their actions caused “serious and permanent physical and emotional trauma.” The suit seeks $100 million in damages. An attorney representing the school and its employees has said they were not focused on "pursuing this lawsuit at this time."

"Our interest and priority is to recover from this tragedy,” said the lawyer, Timothy Mullins.

In December, Jeffrey and Brandi Franz filed a pair of lawsuits in federal and county circuit court seeking $100 million each against the district. Their daughter was wounded when she was shot in the neck.

In response to the lawsuits, Oxford Community Schools Superintendent Tim Throne shared a letter to parents defending the district’s actions surrounding the shooting.

“Our students and staff should be proud. Our high school administration ... ran toward the incident to effectively save children, administer aid to injured parties, and to locate the perpetrator, putting themselves in harm’s way," Throne wrote. "As an administrative team, we are extremely proud of their brave efforts that day."

Oxford High School, in suburban Detroit, reopened Monday after the interior of the building was renovated.