The parents of the alleged Oxford High School shooter have hired a big-name lawyer to defend them against charges related to the tragedy, and yet their son has been left with a public defender.

15-year-old Ethan Crumbley is currently in jail facing four counts of murder, among other serious charges. In a surprise move by prosecutors, his parents, James, 45, and Jennifer, 43, were also arrested and are facing four counts of involuntary manslaughter for buying their underage son the firearm, leading directly to the attack. They have retained the legal services of Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman.

Smith is not only a high-powered and well-known attorney in the area, she has actively defended a few very controversial clients, including USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar in his nationally-followed sexual assault trial. Yes, the very same Larry Nassar trial that we covered extensively in the past. Yeesh…

According to media reports from Michigan, Smith has also defended Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, the defendant who is currently facing the first female genital mutilation trial in American history. She has also represented former Michigan State University football player Josh King, who was given probation after a high-profile sexual misconduct trial in 2018.

But while all that is eyebrow-raising in its own way, due to Smith’s high-profile background representing controversial defendants, the second part of this situation is even more interesting: the Crumbleys did not hire a defense attorney for their son, instead throwing him upon the mercy of the state to grant him a public defender.

According to reports, the teenager — who will be tried as an adult on 24 charges, including one count of terrorism and the aforementioned four counts of murder — will be defended by Paulette Michel Loftin. Loftin, a public defender who is based in the city of Rochester, Michigan, was appointed to represent the teenager last Thursday after he proved he was unable to afford an attorney for himself.

So, yeah, if you’re keeping score at home, the Crumbleys not only tried to leave the country rather than face consequences for allegedly enabling their son in the shooting by buying him the gun used days before the act, they also put up big bucks for their own defense while leaving Ethan out on his own.


Loftin hasn’t said much about her appointment to defend Crumbley, telling the Detroit Free Press only that she has spoken to her client but “doesn’t have any comment at this time” regarding the teen’s defense.

Here’s more on the latest from Oakland County form WXYZ-TV (below). Most innerestingly, per this report, law enforcement officials are now pondering whether to bring charges against Oxford HS officials for potentially failing to intervene in Ethan’s alleged prior mental health and emotional issues:

Well then.

For now, all of the Crumbleys remain in Oakland County Jail as they await future court dates.

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