Jennifer and James Crumbley lose offer to move trial elsewhere
A judge delivered a string of blows and victories to James and Jennifer Crumbley on Monday, including refusing to move their trial out of Oakland County.
Much to the chagrin of the defense, Oakland County Circuit Judge Cheryl Matthews ruled the Crumpleys could enjoy a fair trial in the community where their son is accused of carrying out a mass shooting in a school last fall. The defense had argued that there was too much negative publicity and pain endured by the community to warrant a fair trial.
The judge disagreed – although she ended what had become a key sticking point for the defense: the prosecutor’s public comments on the case. Matthews issued an order barring both the prosecution and defense from discussing the case with the media or on the internet after the defense repeatedly argued that Oakland County District Attorney Karen McDonald spoke ill of the parents and harmed their chances of getting a fair trial.
The Crumbleys are charged with manslaughter for their alleged roles in the shooting. Prosecutors accused the couple of ignoring an “emotionally troubled” son, and instead of asking him for help, they bought him a gun – the same weapon that was allegedly used in the shooting on the 30 november.
They pleaded not guilty, saying they had no idea their son would commit a mass shooting and that they kept the gun in a locked and secure area of their home.
On Monday, the couple’s attorneys also convinced the judge to keep out of the trial numerous items they said were irrelevant and prejudicial, including: the mother’s alleged extramarital affair, the alleged “house in mess” of the couple, the cooking pot and alcohol found in the house, a Nazi coin found in their son’s bedroom and a bird’s head he allegedly hid under his bed in a jar.
Matthews ruled all of these items are inadmissible at trial, meaning the jury will not hear them.
But Matthews denied the Crumbleys’ request to keep other evidence out of the trial, including their son’s diary, his Instagram posts and text messages he sent to a friend in which he discussed his health issues. mental.
Matthews argued that these items are relevant to the case and that an impartial jury can sit in Oakland County.
“Oakland County is not a small community,” Matthews said from the bench.
Matthews also stressed to both parties that any statements made on the case “will only be made in court.” While the prosecution protested, arguing they had the right to correct misinformation on the internet regarding the case, the judge disagreed. “It’s not the prosecutor’s duty to police the internet,” Matthews said. “It’s your job to give the defendants a fair trial.”
After: Crumbleys plan to call their son to give evidence in their case: ‘We need him’
After: Trial of Ethan Crumbley, suspect in Oxford high school shooting, delayed for 4 months
After: Judge rejects Crumbleys’ request to drop manslaughter charges
McDonald has previously argued that she had a duty to inform victims and the public about the case.
“(T)he defendants have important rights, but so do victims and the public. Victims have a right to zealous counsel on their behalf. The public has a right to know what happened and to try to prevent future shootings. Above all, the public and the victims have a right to the truth,” McDonald said.
The Crumbleys’ trial is scheduled for October 24.
Their son, Ethan, is due to stand trial in January for first degree murder and terrorism. He has pleaded not guilty and is being held in Oakland County Jail, where his parents are also being held.
Tresa Baldas: [email protected]