Lawyers for teen charged in fatal Michigan school shooting file notice of insanity defense

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A court-ordered psychiatric evaluation of Ethan Crumbley is likely after his attorney filed a notice of insanity defense Thursday in Oakland County Circuit Court.

Attorney Paulette Loftin said it’s important to note that her filing is not an insanity plea but rather an assertion preceding her next filing — a request for evaluation at the state’s Center for Forensic Psychiatry.

Ethan Robert Crumbley. (Oakland County Sheriff’s Office) 

“It’s a normal course to explore (a defendant’s) mental health at the time of the offense,” Loftin said, adding that she’s awaiting Judge Kwame Rowe’s signature on the notice before moving ahead with the evaluation request.

Crumbley, 15, is charged with four counts of first-degree premeditated homicide, terrorism causing death, seven counts of assault with intent to murder and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony for the Nov. 30 shooting at Oxford High School.  Four were killed and seven others suffered gunshot wounds.

Loftin said the psychiatric evaluation is to determine criminal responsibility for Crumbley, but not to evaluate him for competency. She also said it’s expected to be 60 to 90 days before the report is completed.

Crumbley is held at the Oakland County Jail, kept apart from other inmates due to his age, as required by law. Loftin said she visits him regularly and that “he’s doing as well as can be expected” while held in “extreme isolation” which is particularly difficult for someone of his age.

The law requires a court hearing on Crumbley’s placement every 30 days, to determine if he is to remain in the adult facility or instead be moved to the county’s juvenile facility, Children’s Village. The next placement hearing is scheduled for Feb. 22.

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