Prosecutors say suspected Oxford shooter tortured birds, admired Hitler, ‘enjoyed his dark side’

Prosecutors, defense make arguments over where Ethan Crumbley should be held

Ethan Crumbley in court on Feb. 22, 2022. (WDIV)

OXFORD, Mich. – While making their argument that suspected Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley should remain at the Oakland County Jail, prosecutors said he tortured a family of baby birds, expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler and “enjoyed his dark side.”

The two sides spent about three hours in court Tuesday (Feb. 22), sharing arguments about whether he should be held at the jail or moved back to Oakland County Children’s Village.

Crumbley’s defense argued that he isn’t getting the proper care, attention and schooling he needs at the jail.

“I believe that the evidence will show that in the time leading up to these events that my client was hallucinating, that he was seeing things,” his defender said. “He was hearing voices. He was not sleeping. He was extremely anxious. He was not eating properly, and that he had asked his parents to see a therapist.”

Prosecutors responded by trying to paint a picture for the judge that shows the 15-year-old’s mental maturity and interests.

“In a text read with his friend and in his journal, he outlined a plan to stalk, rape, torture and ultimately kill a female classmate,” the prosecutor said. “He expressed delight in torturing a family of baby birds and he wrote about the joy he received in listening to them squeal as he killed them.

“He spoke of his admiration for Adolf Hitler and Jeffrey Dahmer, specifically stating, ‘When you die, you need to be remembered for a long time, doing something that will make people think of you until time ends.’”

The prosecution said Crumbley had a specific and detailed agenda leading up to the shooting on Nov. 30. In his journal, he talked about the type of gun he needed, who his first victim would be and ultimately expressed that he would surrender so he could witness the pain and suffering that he caused, according to prosecutors.

In a video retrieved from his phone the night before the shooting, he identified himself as “the next school shooter,” prosecutors said.

“To place this defendant with other at-risk juveniles who are presumably the same age has his victims would be contrary to the rehabilitation of those at Children’s Village and pose a potential risk of harm to their safety,” she argued.

While Crumbley didn’t have any documented juvenile history, the prosecutor pointed to his “antisocial behavior” and called it “very concerning.”

“The evidence will show that he bragged about wearing a mask to the public,” she said. “He enjoyed his dark side. The defendant isn’t who he appears to be. He allows people to see who he wants them to see, and only those close to him, such as his parents, would understand or recognize it. He is fascinated with violence, weapons and seeing others suffer.

“The court is to consider what is in the interest of justice, not what is in the best interest of the juvenile,” the prosecutor concluded.

No decision was made when the hearing ended just before 5 p.m. Tuesday. Three witnesses were questioned and closing arguments were made. You can read more about the hearing by clicking here, or watch all the proceedings in the two videos below.

Suspected Oxford shooter Ethan Crumbley's full Feb. 22, 2022, court hearing -- Part 1
Suspected Oxford shooter Ethan Crumbley's full Feb. 22, 2022, court hearing -- Part 2

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.