Oxford School Shooter’s Troubled Background: Psychologist Testifies in Life Sentence Hearing


At a hearing to determine whether or not Ethan Crumbley will be sentenced to life in prison, a psychologist testified that Crumbley was akin to a ‘feral child’ whose parents severely neglected him.  On November 30, 2021, Crumbley pled guilty to murdering four classmates and wounding seven others during a shooting at Oxford High School. Tuesday, during a hearing for Miller, his attorneys played disturbing recordings from detention showing the 17-year-old in extreme distress as he was restrained and wailed. Psychologist Colin King spent over twenty hours with the assailant and concluded that he was ‘an abandoned child’ and mentally unwell.

According to King, Crumbley’s psychosis represented a split with reality. He later predicted that the lad can be rehabilitated ‘certainly’. “A number of my clients have run afoul of the law,” King, who has testified in numerous homicide cases, stated.  They have made progress through psychotherapy and support. Ethan’s intellect is still maturing. 

On October 24 of last year, Crumbley pled guilty in Oakland County Circuit Court to a total of 24 offenses, including one count of terrorism resulting in death and four counts of first-degree murder. In addition, he was charged with seven counts of assault with intent to murder and 12 counts of criminal possession of a firearm. The 15-year-old opened fire at Oxford High School outside of Detroit with a semi-automatic handgun that his father had given him as a Christmas present days before the carnage.

Two male pupils, aged 17 and 16, and two female students, aged 17 and 14, were slain, along with six other students and a teacher. The mass shooter’s age cannot inevitably result in a life sentence. The Supreme Court has mandated that Oakland County Judge Kwame Rowe consider the shooter’s age, mental health, unstable family life, and other factors.

He can still impose a life sentence, but it is unlikely that he would do so for a juvenile. Otherwise, Crumbley would face a minimum prison term between 25 and 40 years, followed by parole eligibility. His term would not exceed 60 years.

King met with Crumbley multiple times, interviewed him, and administered a battery of psychological exams. In addition, he examined the adolescent’s journal entries and text messages.   On the day of the shooting, when he was sent to the principal’s office for drawing violent images in class, the adolescent believed a pistol would be discovered in his backpack, according to the principal. 

“For the first time in his life, Ethan reported feeling relieved,” King testified.He stated that he knew the sheriffs would apprehend him because there was no way, after seeing everything, that they wouldn’t examine his backpack. However, the knapsack was never examined, and the student was permitted to remain in class. Later, he emerged from a restroom and began firing.

Unstable Home Environment: King Reveals Crumbley’s Troubling Upbringing

According to King, Crumbley was reared in an unstable home by parents who left him alone for hours, argued in front of him, and discussed infidelity, divorce, and suicide without discretion.  The youngster was even required to determine what to do with his deceased pet companion. King stated, “He can be considered a feral child.”

It is primarily an abandoned infant… Abandoned individuals have what is known as arrested development,’ he explained. Lacking social indicators. They become social outcasts.King concluded that the shooter suffers from severe melancholy, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. “A number of innocent people died,” said King. “I’m not here to justify Ethan Crumbley’s actions. He orchestrated the assault. I sympathize with the victims and their families.He had a mental illness.”

James and Jennifer Crumbley have been accused separately with involuntary manslaughter. They are accused of purchasing a firearm for their son and disregarding his mental health requirements. The prosecution desires a life sentence without the possibility of parole. During King’s cross-examination, it was implied that the psychologist was giving the perpetrator a reprieve.

David Williams, an assistant prosecutor, questioned whether all depressed individuals become serial murderers. Williams reintroduced last week’s evidence: journal entries and a video made the night before the shooting in which the adolescent declared his intention to attack the school.

He mentioned that victim Justin Shilling was murdered in a restroom. Williams asked, “Do you believe that to be the work of a young mind?”

“I do,” replied King.

King stated that adults overlooked numerous opportunities to aid the gunman. However, Williams noted that the youngster could receive assistance within a few days if he so desired. After school personnel saw his violent drawings, his parents assured them that he would receive counseling within 48 hours. Last week, prosecutors summoned four witnesses to the shooting, including a staff member who was injured and a pupil who rescued a wounded girl. It was the first time that their testimony was presented in court.

The hearing will continue on August 18.


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Source: Daily Mail, Tulsa World

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