Parents of accused Oxford HS shooter want son's journals, texts blocked from court
PONTIAC, Mich. (FOX 2) - When Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald took the unique step in charging the parents of accused Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley with involuntary manslaughter, she knew that she would need to use a lot of their son's words and statements before the shooting in trial. But James and Jennifer Crumbley's attorneys are arguing that much of that should be inadmissible.
Defense attorney Shannon Smith said in court in April that the team would be filing motions to quash, eliminate, and motions regarding Ethan's psychological records and more. On Wednesday, many of those motions were filed with the court; one of which was a motion to prevent the prosecution form using Ethan's 22-page journal, his texts with a friend, and hundreds of internet searches.
In the filing, the defense team for the Crumbley parents called the journal ‘hearsay’ and argued that the 22-page journal that was found in Ethan's backpack on Nov. 30, the day of the Oxford High School shooting, should be tossed completely.
More: Trial date for James and Jennifer Crumbley tentatively set
"There is no evidence to suggest that Mr. or Mrs. Crumbley wrote anything in (Ethan's) journal, or ever saw the journal." the motion reads.
Additionally, it asks for more than 25,000 texts between Ethan and his friend as well as over 400 internet searches to be thrown out.
According to the paperwork, there's no evidence that shows that messages between Ethan and his friend, identified in the motion as ‘B’, were viewed by the parents. The same argument was made for the internet searches.
The journal, internet searches, and text messages are all hersey, defense argues, and are inadmissible.
"(Ethan) makes claims within his journal and texts about how his parents did various things, that they said various things, and that he told his parents certain information. Mr. and Mrs. Crumbley dispute things that (Ethan) writes and must have the ability to confront this evidence if it will be used at trial. The only witness who can explain the content of the journal and the statements to B is (Ethan)," the motion reads.
RELATED: Crumbley parents say Karen McDonald is tainting jury pool with comments about Oxford school shooting
The attorneys argue Ethan knew what would happen after the shooting.
"It is clear that (Ethan) anticipated and hoped that his actions would cause a huge investigation, that he would become famous, and that his complaints in the journal against his parents, teachers, school administrators, pretty girls, other students, and President Biden would be heard if he shot up the school," the filing said.
The 22-page journal includes many statements made my Ethan which said that "[p]eople will be talking about my shooting for years and I will make a huge impact on the United States." He also reportedly wrote about his admiration for Nikolas Cruz, who was arrested, charged, and convicted for the Parkland High School shooting in Florida that killed 17 of his classmates.
There are multiple entries in the journal that Smith and attorneys argue should be inadmissible include: "I want all of America to see the darkness in me and hate me" and "I wish to hear the screams of the children as I shoot them."
Related: Crumbleys appointed independent lawyers over concerns of a conflict of interest
The motion stated that any "reasonable person would be horrified to see that (Ethan) stated plans such as ‘[t]he first victim has to be pretty girl with a future so she can suffer just like me.’" and that Ethan wanted people to know who he was. That's why, the defense argues, he brought the journal to school with him: so he could take credit for what happened that day.
In the journal, Ethan also stated that he hoped the shooting would lead to the impeachment of President Joe Biden and the defense argues that this could lead to jury deliberations becoming a political debate instead of a debate on guilt.
Regarding the internet search history, the defense calls them inflammatory and said they're irrelevant to what the jury would decide and it could inappropriately lead to the jury convicting them based on Ethan's search history.
"There is no doubt that jurors will want to convict the Crumbleys based simply on the highly depraved nature of their son’s searches," the motion stated.
In another motion, the attorneys said Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald is tainting the jury pool with her public comments about the shooting and sending out press releases.
It's not yet known when the judge will rule on the motion hearings.
What are James and Jennifer Crumbley charged with?
Over the course of two days in February, multiple pieces of evidence were presented suggesting that James and Jennifer Crumbley failed to address concerns regarding Ethan Crumbley's mental health. The couple is also accused of buying a gun for the 15-year-old on Friday, Nov. 26 - just four days before the shooting at Oxford High School.
According to authorities, Jennifer Crumbley made an Instagram post that said she was at a gun range shooting a weapon that was her son's Christmas present days before the shooting.
During the preliminary exam, text messages between Jennifer Crumbley and Ethan Crumbley were presented that showed for months before the shooting, the teen would text his mother about hallucinations he was having while home alone. On multiple occasions, she didn't acknowledge these messages.
Text messages between Ethan Crumbley and a close friend also revealed a look into the teen's relationship with his parents.
In an exchange on April 5, 2021, prosecutors described "quite a bit" of discussion about his mental state in which Ethan Crumbley told his friend he was "f----- up," experiencing hallucinations, and had asked his parents for help.