Oakland Co. prosecutor will try to stop release of Oxford High shooting evidence in civil suit

The Oakland County Prosecutor's Office wants to block the release of all Oxford High shooting evidence held by  the county sheriff, as ordered by a judge in one of the civil suits filed against Oxford Community School District officials. 

In a statement Wednesday, officials from Prosecutor Karen McDonald's office said a judge in one of the civil suits against the district ordered the release of all evidence around the case contained in the Oakland County Sheriff's Office file. The lawsuit was filed in Oakland County Circuit Court by attorney Ven Johnson on behalf of Oxford shooting victims.

The prosecutor's office is concerned that the release of evidence could impact ongoing criminal trials against Ethan Crumbley and his parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley. The office is also concerned that the release of evidence could give the shooter "the notoriety he sought." 

"The civil cases are also an important part of achieving justice for the victims, but we are asking that the criminal cases be allowed to proceed before more evidence is released," Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Marc Keast said Wednesday in a news release.

Johnson said Oakland County Circuit Judge Rae Lee Chabot ruled that the Sheriff's Office needs to comply with a subpoena for the agency's complete investigation in the case. 

"Just because the prosecutor doesn't want to give it to me, that's not her call," he said. 

The attorney raised the example of evidence publicly released around the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. That shooting was less than a month ago and already some surveillance video has been released in the case. In Oxford's case, video from inside the school has not been made public. 

"When Judge Chabot weighed the evidence and weighed the law, she ruled in favor of these victims," he said.

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Keast said that the office does not want to publicly release video or other evidence out of a fear that such a release "could inadvertently encourage future shooters." 

Johnson's firm has filed multiple suits, including in Oakland County Circuit Court and federal court.

Contact Lily Altavena: [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @LilyAlta.