Attorney: Oxford High School shooter ‘did not know’ victims

Lawyer suggests shooter did not target anyone amid fatal mass shooting

Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley in court on Oct. 24, 2022. (WDIV)

The Oxford High School shooter, who admitted Monday to fatally shooting four students and shooting and injuring several others, apparently did not target his victims in the Nov. 30, 2021, shooting.

During a court hearing on Monday, Ethan Crumbley, 16, pleaded guilty to all 24 felony charges against him in connection with the fatal shooting. Crumbley opened fire last winter during school hours, killing four students and injuring seven people with a 9 mm handgun.

The shooter’s attorney, Paulette Michel Loftin, suggested Monday that the then-sophomore student did not specifically target the victims killed and hurt in the school shooting. Speaking after the court hearing, Loftin said Crumbley “did not know them.”

The attorney said she believes her client made the right choice Monday after changing his plea from not guilty to guilty. The shooter admitted to first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder, terrorism and possessing a firearm in the commission of a felony during the court hearing.

Monday marks the first day that a U.S. school shooter has been convicted of terrorism on state charges.

Loftin said Monday that Crumbley is trying to “take accountability for his actions.”

The shooter was scheduled to go on trial in January of next year, where he was expected to “to assert the defense of insanity at the time of the alleged offense.”

“Originally, we filed a notice of insanity, and based on the conversations that we’ve had and the review of the discovery, we felt it appropriate to withdraw that and have him plead guilty today,” Loftin said.

The shooter is scheduled to appear in court again in February for a Miller hearing, where the judge will consider arguments from both sides before handing down a sentence. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled sometime after the February hearing.

When asked to make a statement addressing the families of the victims, the defense attorney said that she doesn’t think “there are any words that could make [the families] feel any better.” Loftin did say the shooter feels remorseful, though he appeared straight-faced and emotionless in court on Monday.

More: Transcript: Oxford shooter admits to premeditated murder, terrorism amid prosecutor questioning

It is still unknown if Crumbley will testify on his own behalf at the next hearing. Loftin said a decision has not yet been made.

It is also possible that the shooter may testify at the trial of his parents, who were also charged for their alleged role in the fatal mass shooting. It is possible Crumbley could be called as a witness in their trial, Loftin said, but it’s too soon to know.

The shooter’s parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, are each being charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. Prosecutors accuse them of neglecting their son and his cries for help, and also of buying their son the weapon that was used in the mass shooting.

The parents’ trial is scheduled to begin in January 2023.

Read more: What Oxford High School shooter said about parents during his guilty plea

You can see what Loftin had to say in the video player below.


About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.