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Oxford Shooter Ethan Crumbley’s Miller Hearing Analysis

Welcome to this special blog article. I’m Dr. Lewitzke, psychologist, mother, and co-owner of Bright Pine Behavioral Health; and I have a deep passion for working with youth. Today, we delve into the ongoing Miller hearing for Ethan Crumbley, a then-sophomore who committed a deadly shooting at his high school in 2021. This crucial legal proceeding raises questions about the role of psychological testing and the invaluable insights it can provide into a young offender’s mental state.

Understanding the Miller Hearing:

The Miller hearing is a pre-sentencing requirement for young offenders facing the possibility of a life sentence. In Ethan Crumbley’s case, he was just 15 years old when the tragic incident occurred at Oxford High School. The defense argues that his brain’s immaturity and significant mental health issues present an opportunity for rehabilitation, while the prosecution seeks a life sentence for the mass murderer.

Watch the Miller Hearing

The Role of Psychological Testing:

Testifying as the fourth witness for the defense, forensic psychologist and mental illness expert Colin King, PhD, shed light on Ethan Crumbley’s mental state. Psychological testing played a vital role in King’s assessment, involving reviews of Crumbley’s journal, text messages, and self-videos, uncovering a traumatic and stress-filled life marked by parental neglect and pleas for help with mental problems.

Revealing Insights:

Colin King’s expert testimony unveiled that Crumbley’s psychological development had been arrested due to the high level of stress and complex trauma he experienced, resulting in an emotional age younger than his chronological age. The psychologist also highlighted two potential incidents of brain injuries, which surprisingly, were never evaluated by a medical professional.

The Importance of Psychological Testing:

Psychological testing is a critical tool for gaining a deeper understanding of an individual’s mental state. In Crumbley’s case, these assessments revealed signs of psychosis and other mental illnesses that contributed to his actions. Understanding the underlying psychological factors is essential for formulating effective treatment plans and determining the potential for rehabilitation.

Challenges and Debates:

During cross-examination, Chief Assistant Prosecutor David Williams challenged King’s assessment, questioning whether Crumbley’s actions were a result of a juvenile brain or a diagnosable mental illness. King acknowledged the presence of a mental illness but maintained that Crumbley knew right from wrong at the time of the shooting, implying that he does not meet the legal definition of criminal insanity.

The Impact on Society:

As a clinician working with children and a mother, it is deeply disheartening to hear about the disturbing details from Ethan’s journal, such as his acts of animal cruelty and violent fantasies towards young children. However, it is crucial to remember that not all individuals who keep journals exhibit dangerous behaviors. Journaling can be a healthy practice, but in some cases, it may reveal underlying issues that require professional attention.

Addressing Mental Health Issues:

The tragic case of Ethan Crumbley reminds us of the urgent need to address mental health issues in our society. Providing adequate resources, recognizing warning signs, and promoting early intervention can play a pivotal role in preventing such devastating incidents.


The ongoing Miller hearing for Ethan Crumbley raises profound questions about the importance of psychological testing and the insights it reveals into a young offender’s mental state. Understanding the complexities of the human mind is crucial for ensuring appropriate measures for rehabilitation and creating a safer and more empathetic society.

As the Miller hearing continues, we must stay updated on the developments in this case and continue to advocate for mental health awareness and support. Together, let’s strive for a world where tragedies like this become a rarity rather than a haunting reality.

I appreciate your time spent reading my insights on this topic. If you’re interested in knowing more about me and our skilled team of specialists, I invite you to browse our website. We offer psychological and neuropsychological testing, along with counseling services for children, teens, and adults in Clarkston and West Bloomfield. We’re also excited to announce that we’ll soon be expanding our services to Troy, MI.

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