Parents of Oxford shooter appear in court, expert argues they should have seen it coming

Judge to decide on prosecution’s use of expert witness

Prosecution expert, Dr. Jillian Peterson, weighs in on the involvement of the parents of the Oxford school shooter.

PONTIAC, Mich. – The parents of the Oxford High School shooter appeared in court on Friday for a hearing about expert witnesses for the prosecution.

An expert witness that has studied every mass shooting since 1966 says that shooters don’t just snap. She argues there are signs that lead up to these shootings including agitation, isolation, and abusive behavior.

Prosecutors in this case say the Oxford High School shooter, Ethan Crumbley, exhibited all of these signs and that the parents should have picked up on it.

The courtroom was packed for the Crumbley parent’s hearing that came days after their son pleaded guilty to all charges.

The hearing was to decide if the prosecution can use testimony from expert witness, Dr. Jillian Peterson of The Violence Project.

Dr. Peterson has made it her life’s work to study mass shootings and says school shootings can and should be prevented.

“There is a slow build, they do not snap, and they give off lots of warning signs along the way,” said Dr. Peterson.

Her research indicates that shooters leak their plans ahead of a shooting. Ethan Crumbley displayed many warning signs and leaked his plans in the months leading up to Nov. 30, 2021.

Prosecutors allege that James and Jennifer Crumbley should have seen those warning signs and should have taken action, they knew he had access to the gun that James Crumbley bought for him.

Attorneys for the parents say, there is no evidence the parents saw what he wrote in his journal or what he said in text messages.

The judge is expected to decide if this witness can testify in the parent’s case in one week

About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Morgan is a Digital Editor and has been with WDIV since May of 2022. She is also studying political science and communications at Wayne State University.