Judge rules not to limit which Oxford victims get info in school shooting case

‘I think any student and teacher who was in that building is a victim’

A judge has ruled not to limit which Oxford High School victims can receive information from the court during the case for the suspected shooter’s parents. James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of the suspected Oxford High School shooter, tried to restrict who could receive updates about court proceedings.

OXFORD, Mich. – A judge has ruled not to limit which Oxford High School victims can receive information from the court during the case for the suspected shooter’s parents.

James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of the suspected Oxford High School shooter, tried to restrict who could receive updates about court proceedings.

The defense hoped a judge would limit sharing information to only the families whose children died in the shooting, and that left other families outraged. The judge granted and denied parts of their motion.

Local 4′s Karen Drew sat down with some Oxford High School parents to hear their concerns before the judge’s critical decision.

“We still live with a life that’s different because of what happened,” Staci Brodeur said.

Brodeur has a sophomore at Oxford High School. While her Taylor was not physically injured in the school shooting, Brodeur still considers her a victim.

“We leave the house in a ‘Hana’ shirt, or earrings that are in remembrance of these children,” Staci Brodeur said. “I mean, that’s just the tip of it. You hear, you know, you hear sirens going off down the road and your heart stops.”

Earlier this year, the defense was granted a motion to restrict pretrial publicity. That motion restricted what the defense and prosecution could say about the case either directly to the press or through social media.

In a recent court filing, the defense said that counsel saw six screenshots shared on Facebook that appeared to have come from an email from the prosecutor’s office to the victims in the case. They argue that, “the prosecution’s message contained in the six screenshots is highly and unfairly prejudicial to the defense, to Mr. and Mrs. Crumbley’s right to have a fair trial and with an unbiased jury, and is simply misleading to the readers.”

The defense said that there were more than 1,800 email addresses the prosecution contacts each time a notice is provided to the victims in the Oxford High School shooting case.

“It is clear now that the message is being seen by more than just the victims, including the public at large, and it has the damning effect of creating prejudice to the Crumbleys’ case,” the defense said. They are asking that prosecutors rescind the comments and limit the information that is provided to the victims.

“When you heard this push to limit information to all of these families what did you think?” Local 4′s Karen Drew asked.

“I was offended by that. I think any student and teacher who was in that building is a victim. In fact, the entire community is a victim. So, to limit the information to those people, it kind of sends the message that you don’t count and that their trauma isn’t real and it’s very real for them,” Andrea Jones said.

Andrea Jones’ son Griffin is a senior. She said he has struggled every day since the shooting.

“How could you go into the same building every day and not think about what happened there? These kids were coming up on the anniversary. So tensions are a little high and the anxiety level is -- it’s tangible,” Jones said.

“It’s beyond frustrating,” Lori Bourgeau said.

Lori Bourgeau was also worried about how the judge will rule. She said her child, Ben, is a victim. She said she has the right to know what is going on in court.

“I could understand if there were questionable things being told to us. But, honestly, the emails we’ve gotten are very basic. It seems as though their problem is that that’s being shared,” Lori Bourgeau said.

“It’s amazing how much you don’t think it’s part of you until every day goes by and said be told that we’re not victims isn’t true,” Staci Bourgeau said.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald responded to the motion stating in part, “the email updates are designed to provide timely, accurate information to answer expected questions.”

In a court filing, the prosecution responded to the motion and argued that the “defendants’ requested relief would violate victims’ rights.” They continued,” “It is a mandatory directive in the Michigan Constitution that the victims have the right to confer with the prosecution. Defendants requested relief would violate both the Michigan Constitution and the Crime Victim’s Rights Act. The people respectfully request that this Honorable Court deny Defendants’ Motion to Restrict Pretrial Statements.”

The judge determined on Tuesday not to sanction the Prosecution’s conduct but did reiterate what was previously stated in court. “The Court has an affirmative Constitutional duty to protect the rights of the Defendants, the People, the victims, and to maintain the integrity of these proceedings.”

You can view each court filing below.


Read: Complete coverage on the Oxford High School shooting


View the judge’s order regarding the motion below

View the motion to restrict below

View the response below


Have a case you’d like us to look into? Reach the Local 4 investigative team at 313-962-9348, or email Karen Drew at kdrew@wdiv.com.



About the Authors:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.