David Guralnick/Detroit News/Pool/via AP
A 15-year-old boy accused of killing four classmates at his Michigan high school also wrote that he raped and killed a girl at school, prosecutors said Tuesday during a hearing to decide whether he remained in an adult prison.
Text messages to a friend and articles from a newspaper were offered by prosecutors as reasons to keep Ethan Crumbley in a cell in the Oakland County Jail in the Detroit suburb of Pontiac instead of having him transferred to a institution for minors.
Crumbley “outlined a plan to stalk, rape, torture and ultimately kill a classmate,” Oakland County Assistant District Attorney Markeisha D. Washington said in Oakland County Circuit Court.
“He expressed his joy at torturing a family of baby birds and he wrote about the joy he felt listening to them scream as he killed them,” she continued. “He spoke of his admiration for Adolf Hitler and Jeffrey Dahmer, specifically saying ‘when you die you have to remember long, do something that would be remembered for you until the end of time.'”
Dahmer received 16 consecutive life sentences for killing 17 men and boys, most of them in Milwaukee. He was killed in prison in 1994.
Crumbley is charged as an adult with first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder, terrorism and firearms in the Nov. 30 shooting at Oxford High School, about 50 miles north of Detroit .
Besides the four students killed, six other students and a teacher were injured.
Last month, Crumbley’s attorneys filed a notice of insanity defense.
Crumbley has been held in the county jail since December. Currently, he is housed alone in a cell in the prison clinic to prevent him from seeing and hearing adult inmates. Defense attorneys urged that Crumbley be moved to the children’s village.
“Placing this defendant with other at-risk minors who are likely the same age as his victims would be contrary to the rehabilitation of those in the children’s village and pose a potential risk to their safety,” Washington said.
But defense attorney Paulette Loftin said Crumbley’s texts also showed he was asking for help.
“He detailed seeing things, seeing people, hearing voices, and then they disappeared,” Loftin said Tuesday. “He’s talking about telling his parents again that he needs therapy, he needs treatment, he needs someone to talk to. He’s someone who had , in my opinion, a mental health crisis and nobody did anything.”
“He’s completely isolated” at the prison, Loftin said. “And for someone who has mental health issues, the isolation is horrible.”
Another assistant district attorney, Kelly Collins, said Crumbley “wants to be remembered” and while in jail asked how he would receive fan mail and hate mail.
“He wants that notoriety,” Collins said.
Judge could make decision next week, he says
Judge Kwame Rowe said on Tuesday he could have a written decision by early next week on whether Crumbley will remain in jail or be transferred to the Children’s Village.
Earlier in Tuesday’s hearing, children’s village director Heather Calcaterra said she would have concerns if he was incarcerated at her facility.
“It was a devastating situation and we don’t know that the defendant’s presence on our campus, in the classrooms, in the unit, how that may trigger or affect other young people,” Calcaterra said. “I would also be concerned about his safety. I don’t know if he will be a target.”
“We’ve never had a situation like this…including a school shooting or a defendant who was going to use the insanity plea,” she added. “So we don’t know what we will need.”
Crumbley’s parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, are charged with manslaughter in the shooting. Their preliminary examinations – to determine whether they will be tried in circuit court on the charges – are due to resume on Thursday.
Prosecutors allege they gave Ethan the gun used in the shooting as an early Christmas present. They are also accused of failing in their responsibility by refusing to remove him from school two hours before the shooting when counselors confronted them with his agonizing drawings of violence.