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Judge Rules Oxford Shooter's Name Won't Be Used in Court

At the request of the prosecutor, a Michigan judge decided that the name of the Oxford school shooting suspect will not be mentioned in her courtroom during the parents' cases, reports the Detroit Free Press. "There is some precedence but no real legal authority for the mandatory exclusion of the shooter's name," said Oakland County Circuit Judge Cheryl Matthews. "However, calling the shooter by name does not appear to have relevance to these proceedings, and prohibiting its use does not appear to prejudice the defense in any way." She was referring to Jennifer and James Crumbley, the first U.S. parents charged in a mass school shooting allegedly carried out by their 15-year-old son. Their case has attracted international attention also because it involves a detail that prosecutors believe makes this case different from any other school shooting: It was the parents who bought their son the gun that he used to shoot up his school.

Given the intense publicity over the parents' case, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald asked the judge to keep the shooting suspect's name out of the parents' case to prevent future massacres by copycat shooters seeking glory. "Shooters want to be famous. It’s one of the key motivators for most shooters, and it was definitely a motivator for the Oxford shooter," McDonald said. "He wanted to be famous, and he wanted to be remembered." The prosecution has portrayed the Crumbleys' son as a "disturbed," lonely, and attention-starved teenager whose life went from having only one friend before the shooting, to getting "fan mail' from all over the world after the shooting. In an effort to keep the teenager locked up in an adult jail, prosecutors disclosed to the judge the boy's jailhouse communications, including one in which he asked a jail official, "how do I get my fan mail." The judge has ordered both sides not to speak the suspect's name in court, or use it in court filings.


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