Michigan School Shooting: 15-Year-Old Suspect Gets Court-Appointed Lawyer After Parents Only Hire Their Own


Michigan School Shooting: 15-Year-Old Gets Court-Appointed Lawyer After Parents Only Hire Their OwnOakland County Sheriff

Ethan Crumbley has been appointed a lawyer by the court after his parents hired a high-profile legal team to represent only themselves. 

Crumbley is facing a total of 24 charges, including one count of terrorism and four counts of murder, after he allegedly opened fire in Oxford High School in Michigan last month.


In the days after the shooting, the 15-year-old’s parents Jennifer and James Crumbley were each charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Oakland county sheriff's office (Alamy)Alamy

The parents hired high-power lawyers Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman even before they were charged last week, however they appear to have chosen not to pay for a lawyer for their son.

As Crumbley cannot afford to hire a lawyer of his own, court officials appointed defence attorney Paulette Michel Loftin to act on his behalf. Loftin, who is based out of Rochester, Detroit, confirmed to the Detroit Free Press that she had been appointed at the request of the teenager, The Independent reports.


Defendants are entitled to be represented by a court-appointed attorney, funded by the taxpayer, if they are able to prove they do not have the funds to pay for their defence themselves.

Loftin said she has spoken with Crumbley after she was appointed as his lawyer, but told the Free Press she would not be commenting on the charges against him until she receives information about the evidence in the case.

Memorial at Oxford high school (Alamy)Alamy

She commented: ‘There are thousands of pages of discovery that I will need to review so that we can make an informed decision about whether or not we wish to have the preliminary exam.’


Criminal defence attorney Bill Swor said James and Jennifer Crumbley likely can’t afford to cover the costs of the 15-year-old’s expensive murder trial, especially when considering they too are facing up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.

He commented: ‘In some ways, the parents have got a harder case than the kid. They’re adults and he’s a child, and the father bought the gun. The mother made the (social media) postings, and public officials… made public statements that are very prejudicial.’

Following their arrests, Crumbley and his parents are being held in Oakland County Jail.

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Topics: News, Ethan Crumbley, lawyer, Michigan, Now, Oxford High School, school shooting


The Independent
  1. The Independent

    Oxford school shooting: Ethan Crumbley appointed lawyer by court after parents only hired their own

Emily Brown
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