‘Not about throwing their son under the bus’: Crumbley parents to call son to testify at their trial

‘This is about our clients defending the case,’ defense lawyer says

The defense team for the parents of the suspected Oxford High School shooter said they will call on their son to testify at their trial, but it’s not about “throwing him under the bus.”

OXFORD, Mich. – The defense team for the parents of the suspected Oxford High School shooter said they will call on their son to testify at their trial, but it’s not part of a plan to “throw him under the bus.”

During Monday’s hearing for James and Jennifer Crumbley, the prosecution and defense debated whether or not Ethan Crumbley, the suspected shooter, should be allowed to testify during his parents’ case.

You can watch the full exchange in the video posted above.

Both Crumbley parents are facing four charges of manslaughter in connection with the shooting, which left four people dead and several others injured.

The defense argued the Crumbleys need their son as a witness. The topic came up while discussing whether Oct. 24 remains a realistic option for the parents’ trial date, and whether their son’s trial date could affect that timeline.

“I cannot conceive of a possibility of how the defendants’ son would be able to testify in this case,” one prosecutor said.

“We’re going to call him,” a member of the parents’ defense team said. “We need him to testify to information -- not related to his actual shootings, but related to extraneous matters that are important in the case.”

“As an offer of proof they want to call their son to somehow diminish -- highlight his role instead of his parents’ (role),” Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald argued. “I’m just not sure how that’s relevant.”

“They have a right to call him,” Judge Cheryl Matthews said. “He can’t take the Fifth Amendment in front of the jury.”

“There’s certain questions we would just not be able to ask, we do understand that,” the defense lawyer said. “We have other questions we need to ask, and this is not about the defendants wanting to throw their son under the bus or make him look bad. This is about our clients defending the case.”

Matthews asked if the defense is asking for an adjournment and said she is committed to trying to keep the trial on schedule.

McDonald said attorneys and the court previously expressed an interest in having the suspected shooter’s case tried after his parents’ case.


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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.