Ethan Crumbley wanted Joe Biden impeached, records show – Detroit Free Press

June 9, 2022
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The parents of the Oxford school shooting suspect are worried that politics may hurt their chance at getting a fair trial, particularly given what their son allegedly wrote in his journal about President Joe Biden.
“Hopefully my shooting will cause Biden to get impeached,” 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley allegedly wrote in a journal entry that was disclosed in a new court filing late Wednesday.
The disclosure was made by lawyers for the boy’s parents, who are fighting to prevent their son’s journal, his text messages to a friend and Internet searches on school shootings from being admitted as evidence when their case goes to trial in the fall. 
James and Jennifer Crumbley also don’t want the jury to hear about their alleged affairs, pot smoking or drinking habits, horse hobby or messy house — all of which has been raised by prosecutors. None of that is relevant to their case, argue their lawyers, who filed five blistering motions with the court Thursday in which they blasted Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald over her handling of the case, accused her of trying to smear their clients and taint the jury pool by disclosing inflammatory information, and sought to derail the prosecution case.
In addition to trying to block information from being admitted as evidence, the Crumbleys’ lawyers also asked a judge on Wednesday to dismiss the involuntary manslaughter charges, arguing a lower court judge abused her discretion in sending the case to trial. They also asked the judge to order McDonald to stop making public comments and holding press conferences about the Crumbleys, alleging she is tainting the jury pool by disseminating information that’s meant to make the parents look bad.
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Perhaps most prejudicial to the Crumbleys is their son’s journal, which their lawyers warn could trigger a mistrial given the political ramblings that are in it.
The Crumbleys are facing involuntary manslaughter charges for their alleged roles in the November massacre: Prosecutors say they ignored a mentally ill son, failed to get him help, and instead bought him a gun, which police say was used in the mass shooting.
According to courtroom testimony, Ethan detailed how he would carry out the shooting in his journal, which also contain anti-Biden statements that the Crumbleys’ lawyers fear could hurt their clients. They note that Ethan referred to the president in his journal as “sleepy f—— Joe Biden,” and predicted that his actions will be so big that “Sleepy f—Joe Biden will have to make an apolg(y) to people.”
The Crumbleys’ lawyers contend that the “Sleepy Joe” phrase is “directly associated with President Trump,” and that attitudes about both presidents have become so polarized in recent years that the jury may be blinded by politics.
“Mr. and Mrs. Crumbley should not be found guilty or not guilty depending on the attitudes of the jurors about Presidents Biden and Trump,” defense attorneys Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman argue in court records, stressing: “Political beliefs have no legitimate role in this trial.”
That’s partly why the journal has to be excluded, the lawyers contend, arguing it “has the serous potential for distracting the jury from the real issues in the case.”
“The materials risk the danger of turning jury deliberations into a political debate,” the defense lawyers write, adding: “It would also be likely to lead to longer deliberations and possibly an endless string of hung juries, as the likelihood that all jurors would have the same attitude about the anti-Biden diatribe of (Ethan) is surely close to zero.”
Politics aside, here’s what else troubles the Crumbleys’ lawyers about Ethan’s 22-page journal, which was found in his backpack on the day of the Nov. 30 shooting that left four students dead and seven other people injured, including a teacher.
According to court documents, the journal includes Ethan’s “detailed plan” to commit a mass shooting at his school, racial slurs such as the N-word, and complaints about his parents, teachers, school administrators, pretty girls and students.
Among the journal entries that have raised red flags for his parents’ lawyers are: 
“There is no evidence that (Ethan’s) parents knew about or ever saw (his) journal,” the Crumbleys lawyers argue, noting “any reasonable person would be horrified to see that (Ethan) stated plans, such as ‘the first victim has to be a pretty girl.’ “
But the parents didn’t know he wrote that, and shouldn’t be blamed for his actions, the lawyers argue.
“The evilness of (Ethan’s) intent was not shown to be known to the parents,” defense lawyers argued.
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In addition to the journal, the Crumbleys’ lawyers also have asked a judge to exclude from trial Ethan’s 400-plus internet searches for graphic content involving other school shootings, particularly ones in Florida, and people being killed.
They also want the judge to exclude Ethan’s numerous text messages to a friend in the months before the shooting, in which he vented about his parents.
“They make me feel like I’m the problem,” Ethan texted the friend one night. “My mom makes everyone feel like a piece of s—. I actually asked my dad to take me to the doctor the other day, and he just gave me some pills and said to ‘suck it up.’ My mom laughed when I told her.”
Ethan also allegedly sent the same friend a text about a bird’s head he was hiding under his bed.
“Holy s—, my mom almost found the bird head,” Ethan allegedly texted his friend. “Jesus Christ my heart is pounding.”
The Crumbleys are also fighting to exclude the bird’s head as evidence, arguing it is inflammatory and irrelevant to the case.
Moreover, the Crumbleys argue, the journal, text messages and internet searches are all hearsay as they will not be able to cross examine their son about what he wrote and searched for unless he takes the stand. It is not known if Ethan will take the stand at his parents’ trial, which is scheduled for October.
“There is no doubt (Ethan’s) writings, texts and internet searches are extremely disturbing and upsetting. This makes them particularly unfairly prejudicial to Mr. and Mrs. Crumbley, who did not have knowledge of or write the journal, had no knowledge of or participation in sending the texts or have anything to do with (Ethan’s) horrific internet searches.”
In a statement to the Free Press,  Chief Assistant Prosecutor David Williams said on Thursday that the Crumbleys’ latest motions “do not raise any new arguments or evidence.”
“The prosecution will respond to the motions as permitted by the court at the appropriate time. The prosecution remains very confident in its case,” Williams stated.
The Crumbleys are locked up in the Oakland County Jail pending trial. 52-3 District Court Judge Julie Nicholson ordered them to stand trial in March, concluding they could have stopped the rampage that was carried out by their “troubled” son if they had “exercised ordinary care and diligence in the care of their son.”
“There was extensive testimony that Ethan Crumbley was certainly a troubled young man, and that the (parents) had knowledge of that situation. But they purchased a gun, which he believed was his and and that he was free to use,” Nicholson said.
On Thursday, the Crumbleys’ lawyers asked Oakland County Circuit Judge Cheryl Matthews to dismiss the involuntary manslaughter charges, arguing Judge Nicholson “abused discretion” in finding probable cause to send the case to trial.
“The element that they can never prove is that Jennifer and James Crumbley knew that their son was going to commit the school shooting,” Smith has previously argued. “The prosecution knows this, which is why they stretched hard to make these people look like the worst parents in the world.”
Among the key themes that prosecutors have hammered away at is that the Crumbleys knew their son was troubled, but never got him help, even when he was texting his mom about seeing demons and hearing voices and doors slam. Moreover, they argue, the Crumbleys failed to stop a tragedy when they had the power to act, particularly on the morning of the shooting, when they were summoned to the school over a violent drawing their son had made that included a gun and the words, “The thoughts won’t stop, help me.”
Rather than tell the school that their son had access to a gun, prosecutors argue, the parents withheld that information and insisted he be returned to class.
While the defense argues the parents had no legal duty to do anything, the prosecution disagrees.
“The duty owed here is to prevent the community from their son intentionally harming somebody when they knew he was preoccupied with violent material, that he had access to a gun, he could use it when he wanted to and he was disturbed,” McDonald said in a prior court hearing. “It’s a parental duty. It goes far beyond careless. It’s gross negligence.”
The Crumbleys and their son are all being held in the Oakland County Jail pending the outcome of their cases. All have pleaded not guilty.
Ethan Crumbley is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and faces life in prison if convicted.
Contact Tresa Baldas: tbaldas@freepress.com

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