Michigan school shooter who killed 4 was not mentally ill, doctor testifies

Aug 17, 2023, 9:09 PM | Updated: Aug 18, 2023, 9:22 am

Ethan Crumbley, listens to testimony from Dr. Colin King, a psychologist, during his hearing at Oak...

Ethan Crumbley, listens to testimony from Dr. Colin King, a psychologist, during his hearing at Oakland County Circuit Court Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023, in Pontiac, Mich. The teenager killed four students at his Michigan high school in 2021. The psychologist testified Tuesday at the hearing to determine if Crumbley will get a life prison sentence. (Clarence Tabb Jr./Detroit News via AP, Pool)

(Clarence Tabb Jr./Detroit News via AP, Pool)

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — A teenager who killed four students at a Michigan school in 2021 was not mentally ill at the time and understood the tragic consequences of his actions, a psychiatrist testified Friday as prosecutors tried to bolster their argument that a life prison sentence fits the mass shooting.

“I can absolutely understand how it would be difficult to imagine how a sane person could commit mass murder,” said Dr. Lisa Anacker, who evaluates criminal defendants at a state psychiatric hospital. “But the research does show us that mental illness does not account for most of the violence in our country.”

She said Ethan Crumbley, who was 15 at the time, communicated clearly with police immediately after the Oxford High School shooting, followed commands and showed no signs of bizarre behavior.

A reference to “demons” in a video that he made on the eve of the shooting was a reference to his “idol,” a Florida school shooter, not himself, Anacker said.

“I asked the defendant if he was hallucinating at the time of the shooting. He told me he was not,” she testified.

Anacker appeared at the fourth and final day of a hearing to determine whether the teenager will get a life sentence. An immediate decision was not expected.

Crumbley, now 17, pleaded guilty to murder, terrorism and other crimes. Because of his age, he can’t automatically be given a life prison term. Oakland County Judge Kwame Rowe must consider his maturity, mental health, tumultuous family life and other factors set by the U.S. Supreme Court.

His attorneys are arguing that he can be rehabilitated while in prison and should receive a sentence giving him an opportunity for parole some day.

“Ethan’s brain is still maturing,” psychologist Colin King said on Aug. 1.

King said the shooter was like a “feral child” because of his home life and mentally ill when he attacked students and staff at Oxford High.

Rowe still can order a life sentence, but it would be rare for a Michigan teen. Crumbley otherwise would face a minimum prison sentence between 25 years and 40 years, followed by eligibility for parole.

James and Jennifer Crumbley are separately charged with involuntary manslaughter. They are accused of buying a gun for their son and ignoring his mental health.

During previous days of testimony, prosecutors focused on the chilling details of the crime. Ethan Crumbley had made a video, declaring in blunt words what he would do the next day at this school.

The judge listened to eyewitness accounts from four people, including a staff member who was wounded and a student who saved a wounded girl. Besides the deaths of four students, seven other people were shot.

There were opportunities to prevent the tragedy. No one checked the shooter’s backpack for a gun that day, although he was pulled into a meeting with his parents and school staff because of his violent drawings. He was allowed to remain in school.


Follow Ed White at http://twitter.com/edwritez

United States News

Associated Press

Group of homeless people sues Portland, Oregon, over new daytime camping ban

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A group of homeless people in Portland, Oregon, filed a class action lawsuit on Friday challenging new restrictions the city placed on daytime camping in an attempt to address safety issues stemming from a crisis of people living on the streets. The lawsuit filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court alleges the […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Guest lineups for the Sunday news shows

WASHINGTON (AP) — ABC’s “This Week” — Shalanda Young, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget; Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y.; Chris Christie, a Republican presidential candidate. __ NBC’s “Meet the Press” — Preempted by coverage of golf’s Ryder Cup. __ CBS’ “Face the Nation” — Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

An ex-investigative journalist is sentenced to 6 years in a child sexual abuse materials case

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A former investigative journalist for ABC News was sentenced Friday to six years in federal prison for possessing and transporting child sexual abuse images. James Gordon Meek, of Arlington, Virginia, pleaded guilty in July, admitting in a plea agreement that he used an iPhone to exchange illicit materials during a chat […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Dad who won appeal in college admissions bribery case gets 6 months home confinement for tax offense

BOSTON (AP) — A former Staples Inc. executive whose fraud and bribery convictions in the sprawling college admissions cheating scandal were thrown out by an appeals court was sentenced on Friday to six months of home confinement for a tax offense. John Wilson, 64, of Lynnfield, Massachusetts, was sentenced in Boston’s federal appeals court months […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Court orders Subway franchise owners to pay workers nearly $1M – and to sell or close their stores

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal court ordered the owners of 14 Subway locations north of San Francisco to pay employees nearly $1 million in damages and back pay — and also to sell or shut their businesses, with any sale proceeds going to the Department of Labor. Federal investigators said franchise owners John and […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

2 Indianapolis officers indicted for shooting Black man who was sleeping in his car, prosecutor says

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A grand jury has indicted two Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers for shooting a Black man who was sleeping in a car parked outside his grandmother’s house, a prosecutor said Friday. Officers Carl Chandler and Alexander Gregory were indicted on battery and criminal recklessness charges in connection with the Dec. 31 predawn […]

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.



Importance of AC maintenance after Arizona’s excruciating heat wave

An air conditioning unit in Phoenix is vital to living a comfortable life inside, away from triple-digit heat.


Ignite Digital

How to unlock the power of digital marketing for Phoenix businesses

All businesses around the Valley hopes to maximize their ROI with current customers and secure a greater market share in the digital sphere.

Michigan school shooter who killed 4 was not mentally ill, doctor testifies