January 19, 2022

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Accused Michigan school shooter gets court-appointed lawyer, his parents hire legal team – New York Post

3 min read

Accused Michigan high-school shooter Ethan Crumbley was given a court-appointed lawyer — while his parents hired their own pricey private legal team to battle the lesser charges against them, a new report says.

James and Jennifer Crumbley, who were charged with involuntary manslaughter as accessories in their 15-year-old son’s first-degree murder case, have hired a team that includes Shannon Smith, who represented disgraced USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, The Independent reported.

Their son, on the other hand, is being represented by court-appointed lawyer Paulette Michel Loftin, a little-known defense attorney from the Detroit suburb of Rochester.

Ethan Crumbley faces life in prison if convicted on four counts of first-degree murder, terrorism and seven counts of assault with intent to commit murder in the Nov. 30 shooting at Oxford High School that killed four.

His parents were arrested last weekend after fleeing their manslaughter charges.

James and Jennifer Crumbley
James and Jennifer Crumbley are hiring an experienced legal team to fight off their involuntary manslaughter charges.
Oakland County Sheriff’s Office
Photos of Oxford High School shooting victims Hana St. Juliana, Tate Myre, Justin Shilling and Madisyn Baldwin are placed in a memorial outside of the school at Oxford, Michigan on Dec. 7, 2021.
Photos of Oxford High School shooting victims Hana St. Juliana, Tate Myre, Justin Shilling and Madisyn Baldwin are placed in a memorial outside of the school at Oxford, Michigan on Dec. 7, 2021.
Getty Images
A flood of flowers are placed at a large memorial outside of Oxford High School, Michigan on Dec. 7, 2021.
A flood of flowers are placed at a large memorial outside of Oxford High School, Michigan on Dec. 7, 2021.
Getty Images

While their move to hire pricey lawyers may seem a cold-hearted move that leaves their son fending for himself, one prominent lawyer said they may have a reason.

“In some ways, the parents have got a harder case than the kid,” veteran defense lawyer Bill Swor told the Detroit Free Press.

A written football is laid in tribute to Oxford High School shooting victim, Tate Myre, at a memorial outside the school in Oxford, Michigan on Dec. 7, 2021.
A written football is laid in tribute to Oxford High School shooting victim, Tate Myre, at a memorial outside the school in Oxford, Michigan on Dec. 7, 2021.
Getty Images

“They’re adults, and he’s a child, and the father bought the gun,” Swor said. “The mother made the [social media] postings, and public officials … made public statements that are very prejudicial.”

The Crumbleys purchased the 9 mm semiautomatic handgun their son allegedly used in the shootings and refused to take him out of school after a meeting with administrators over a “disturbing” drawing the teen made.

An exterior view of Oxford High School on December 7, 2021 in Oxford, Michigan.
Ethan Crumbley is accused of shooting and killing four students at Oxford High School.
Getty Images

He returned to class and opened fire about three hours later, authorities said.

After another teacher caught the teen researching ammunition on his phone a day before the shootings, his mother texted him, “You have to learn not to get caught.”

The American flag is lowered of Oxford High School on December 7, 2021 in Oxford, Michigan.
Veteran defense lawyer Bill Swor argues Ethan Crumbley will have an easier time at court than his parents.
Getty Images

Loftin, Ethan’s lawyer, told the Free Press she will not comment on the case until she has a chance to review all of the evidence against her client.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said school officials and a Detroit artist who may have helped the Crumbleys run from police could also face charges.

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