Ethan Crumbley, Accused Oxford HS Shooter, To Plead Insanity

Ethan Crumbley, Accused Oxford HS Shooter, To Plead Insanity

( – Last November, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley gunned down 11 people at his Michigan high school, killing 4 of them. Now he’s relying on an insanity defense, according to newly filed court papers.

On January 27, Crumbley’s defense team filed a brief with Oakland, Michigan’s Sixth Circuit Court giving notice that Crumbley, who committed the assault with a 9mm handgun his parents appear to have illegally bought him, “intends to assert the defense of insanity at the time of the alleged offense.” A defense of insanity under Michigan law is a claim that the defendant “lacks substantial capacity” to understand the meaning of their actions or to obey the law – in other words, they weren’t responsible for what they did.

Crumbley’s problem is that prosecutors can show evidence that he did understand his actions. Before the attack, Crumbley had drawn a sketch of a school shooting, which was found by a teacher. He then scribbled out parts of the sketch in an apparent attempt to hide its significance; prosecutors could argue that shows he knew what he was planning was wrong, and was trying to hide evidence.

Crumbley was caught on camera as he hunted his victims, making it hard to argue he didn’t commit the atrocity. That leaves insanity as one of his few defense options. Even if it succeeds, though, Michigan law says insane perpetrators can be given the normal sentence – the only difference is they receive treatment, either in prison or in a secure hospital. Crumbley’s insanity defense won’t let him walk free – but if the examination he’ll now undergo finds mental health issues, it will get him treatment.

Is it possible he really was insane, or is this just a desperate attempt to cut his sentence?

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