Ethan Crumbley, the high school sophomore accused of carrying out the deadliest school shooting so far this year, will pursue an insanity defense to charges against him for killing four students and wounding seven others in Michigan, according to a Thursday court filing.
The 15-year-old Oxford High School student previously pleaded not guilty to charges including one count of terrorism, four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, and 12 counts of possession of a firearm.
“Please take notice that … Ethan Crumbley intends to assert the defense of insanity at the time of the alleged offense,” his lawyers, Paula Loftin and Amy Hopp wrote in the brief filing in Oakland County Circuit Court, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Crumbley will need psychiatric evaluation for the defense to hold and Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald has argued that Crumbley’s mental state would not impact whether or not he can face charges.
During an arraignment last month, Oakland County Sheriff’s Lt. Tim Willis told a judge that investigators found a pair of cellphone videos Crumbley made the night before he walked into a school bathroom with a backpack and came out firing a handgun.
In the videos, Crumbley discussed plans to kill classmates the next day, authorities said, adding that he also appeared to have written in a journal found in his backpack “detailing his desire to shoot up the school, to include murdering students.”
“This isn’t even a close call,” McDonald said at the time. “This was absolutely premeditated.”
Using a gun purchased just four days earlier as a gift from his dad, Crumbley allegedly fired more than 30 rounds during a rampage that lasted about five minutes before surrendering to cops.
During a Jan. 7 bond hearing for Crumbley’s parents, who face their own charges for feeding their son’s alleged gun obsession, prosecutors said that James and Jennifer Crumbley had ignored clear warnings about their son, painting a picture of him as a troubled and depressed teen.
Crumbley had repeatedly texted his mom last spring about “a demon or a ghost or someone else inside the homein the house,” and months later recorded videos of himself torturing animals, prosecutors said. Crumbley’s parents are facing involuntary manslaughter charges.