Michigan school shooter’s father wants a jury from outside the community

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — The father of a Michigan school shooter wants jurors from a different county to decide his involuntary manslaughter case, arguing that he can’t get a fair trial because of widespread publicity and his wife’s recent conviction.

“They have been clearly convicted in the court of public opinion,” defense lawyer Mariell Lehman said in a court filing Wednesday.

James Crumbley, 47, is accused of making a gun accessible to Ethan Crumbley and failing to get mental health care for his son.

The 15-year-old killed four students and wounded more during a mass shooting at Oxford High School in 2021.

Jury selection in the father’s Oakland County trial is scheduled for March 5. It’s unusual in Michigan to change the location of a trial or to bring in jurors from another county.

Hundreds of people will be summoned to the courthouse as part of the jury selection process. It took about two days to pick a jury for Jennifer Crumbley’s trial.

Those jurors said they could fairly listen to the evidence and come up with a verdict, even if they were familiar with the Oxford tragedy. Oakland County has a population of 1.27 million people.

The jury issue could come up during a hearing on Wednesday when Judge Cheryl Matthews considers defense objections to some witnesses and evidence.

Prosecutors can’t talk to reporters because of a gag order, though they have opposed other efforts to pick a jury from elsewhere.

Jennifer Crumbley, 45, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter on Feb. 6 and is awaiting her sentence. Ethan Crumbley, who is now 17, pleaded guilty to murder and terrorism and is serving a life prison sentence with no chance for no parole.

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