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Michigan school shooter's journals, texts allowed in dad's trial; 1 student can testify

Kara Berg, The Detroit News on

Published in News & Features

PONTIAC, Mich. — Prosecutors will be allowed to introduce evidence from the Oxford High School shooter's journal and text messages to his friend during his father's trial, a judge ruled Thursday.

Oakland County Circuit Judge Cheryl Matthews also ruled that one injured Oxford High School student will be allowed to testify during James Crumbley's trial, which is set to begin Tuesday.

Mariell Lehman, Crumbley's attorney, sought to exclude the journal, in which the teen detailed his plans to "shoot up" Oxford High School. She also wanted to exclude texts and student testimony from the trial, arguing it would be unfair to allow the journal entries and texts into the trial if she is not allowed to cross-examine the shooter.

But since Ethan Crumbley is debating whether to file an appeal of his sentence and plea, he has said through his attorneys that if he is called to testify, he will assert his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent to avoid self incrimination. He also refused to waive privilege of his medical records and mental health information.

Matthews has previously ruled that limited excerpts from the teen's journal and texts between him and his friend and mother were non-testimonial and admissible by law.

Lehman's request to exclude them is essentially an "untimely motion for reconsideration," Matthews said and she did not demonstrate error or that a different decision must be made.

 

Matthews also said the shooter's medical records have to remain confidential because she reviewed the records and there is no indication that there is exculpatory evidence or contradictory information in the records.

Matthews made the same ruling before the trial of Crumbley's wife, Jennifer. She was convicted in early February and is set to be sentenced April 9.

Matthews also said one Oxford High School student injured in the shooting would be able to testify during James' trial. Prosecutors previously added three Oxford High School students and the previous owner of the gun that shooter Ethan Crumbley took to school in November 2021 to their witness list for James Crumbley.

Prosecutors changed their mind about calling one of the students and Matthews said they could choose one of the two remaining students, Kylie Ossege and Riley Franz, to testify. Both girls were injured in the school hallway when the shooter opened fire.

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