Oxford school shooter was ‘feral child’ abandoned by parents, defense psychologist says

by Michael Nguyen
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Oxford school shooter

According to a defense psychologist, the teenager who executed a fatal school shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan in 2021 was akin to a “feral child”, severely neglected by his parents during formative years, and suffering from mental illness. The testimonial was given in a hearing that would decide whether the mass shooter, Ethan Crumbley, would receive a life sentence in prison.

Lawyers for Crumbley also showed unsettling footage from his time in jail where the 17-year-old appeared extremely distraught while being restrained by deputies, with his head completely covered with a hood in one instance. The dates of these events were not shared.

“Why didn’t you stop it? I’m sorry. … Stop it, God, why?” Crumbley pleaded.

Psychologist Colin King indicated that Crumbley was undergoing psychosis, or a separation from reality. He later suggested that the young man could indeed be rehabilitated.

King has a history of testifying in homicide cases, and he expressed optimism regarding Crumbley’s potential for improvement through psychotherapy and support, noting that Crumbley’s brain is still in its developmental stage.

Crumbley confessed to charges of murder, terrorism, and other crimes related to the shooting at Oxford High School, situated roughly 40 miles north of Detroit, that claimed four lives and injured seven others.

Oakland County Judge Kwame Rowe is required to consider Crumbley’s age (15 years old at the time of the shooting), his mental health, family instability, and other factors set by the U.S. Supreme Court before handing out a life sentence. If the life sentence isn’t given, Crumbley would face a minimum of 25 to 40 years in prison, with the possibility of parole. The judge’s decision is not expected to be announced on Tuesday.

King spent more than 20 hours with Crumbley across multiple sessions, interviewing him and conducting various psychological tests. He also examined the teenager’s gloomy diary entries and text messages.

King revealed for the first time that Crumbley had expected a firearm to be discovered in his backpack on the day of the shooting. He was sent to the school office for sketching violent images during class. Crumbley felt relieved as he thought he would be arrested and his rampage would be thwarted.

However, his backpack was not inspected, and he was permitted to stay in school, where he later initiated the shooting.

King outlined that Crumbley was brought up in an unstable home, where his parents often left him alone, fought in front of him, and openly discussed infidelity, divorce, and suicide. The teenager was even left to handle the death of his pet dog alone.

King identified Crumbley as a feral child, highlighting the issues that arise from abandonment such as arrested development and a struggle to fit into societal norms.

The psychologist diagnosed Crumbley with severe depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, calling him mentally ill.

Crumbley’s parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, are facing separate charges of involuntary manslaughter for purchasing a gun for their son and neglecting his mental health needs.

The prosecution is pushing for a life sentence without parole. The assistant prosecutor, David Williams, suggested that King was lenient in his assessment of Crumbley.

The trial continues, with the evidence presented last week and testimonies from victims and witnesses shedding light on the horrifying details of the school shooting.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Oxford school shooter

What did the defense psychologist say about the Oxford school shooter?

The defense psychologist, Colin King, described Ethan Crumbley, the Oxford school shooter, as a “feral child” who had been neglected by his parents and was suffering from mental illness.

What is the shooter’s current status in the court proceedings?

Ethan Crumbley, the shooter, is currently awaiting a decision on whether he will receive a life sentence in prison. This decision is based on factors like Crumbley’s age at the time of the shooting, his mental health, and his unstable family life.

What charges did Ethan Crumbley plead guilty to?

Ethan Crumbley pleaded guilty to charges of murder, terrorism, and other crimes related to the school shooting at Oxford High School that resulted in the death of four students and injuries to seven others.

What charges are Ethan Crumbley’s parents facing?

Ethan Crumbley’s parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, are facing separate charges of involuntary manslaughter. They are accused of buying a gun for their son and neglecting his mental health needs.

What is the prosecution pushing for in the case?

The prosecution is advocating for a life prison sentence for Ethan Crumbley with no chance of parole.

What mental health conditions does the shooter, Ethan Crumbley, suffer from according to the defense psychologist?

According to defense psychologist Colin King, Ethan Crumbley has severe depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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