Oakland County Circuit Judge Rae Lee Chabot on Thursday signed an order requiring the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, the county and the Oxford Community School District to release evidence, including video footage , linked to the November shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan.
The decision was made as part of a civil lawsuit brought by the families of the shooting victims against school officials, accused shooter Ethan Crumbley and his parents. Court documents show that the families of the victims subpoenaed documents related to the shooting and surrounding events, but the school district did not turn over the documents within the set deadline.
Ethan Crumbley, a student at the school, is charged with 24 counts after he allegedly shot and killed four of his classmates on November 30.
His parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, are also charged with four counts of manslaughter after they allegedly failed to recognize their son’s warning signs in the months leading up to the shooting.
The three Crumbleys have pleaded not guilty. Judge Kwame Rowe on Thursday postponed Ethan Crumbley’s trial until next year.
The families of the victims had asked Judge Chabot to order the school district, Oakland County and the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department to turn over evidence.
The district and the sheriff’s department had filed requests to stop disclosure of the evidence, but Chabot denied those requests.
“We expect Oxford Community Schools, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office and Oakland County to fully comply with the law and Judge Chabot’s order. Our customers have expected more than seven months to see the full and complete investigation with their own eyes. That’s quite a long time,” Ven Johnson, an attorney for the families of the victims, said in a statement to ABC News.
Sheriff Michael Bouchard, whose department led the investigation into the shooting, told ABC News he would meet with attorneys before setting a schedule for the release of the footage.
Bouchard said he had no problem following the judge’s order, but expressed concern that releasing the video would complicate efforts to sit juries in the trials against the alleged shooter and his parents, who are both scheduled for later this year.
The decision came as the Oxford Community School District said Wednesday it had engaged Guidepost Solutions and Varnum Law to investigate the events surrounding the shooting. The district said it would make all documents and information available to the investigation team.
The district said Guidepost will share the report with the community at the same time it is shared with the board and school administration.
“Of course, independent investigations like these take time, and we will not sacrifice the integrity of the investigation with an artificial timeline. That said, the investigation team is getting in place, getting up to speed and preparing to begin – and they will carry out and complete their work with deliberate care and speed,” Tom Donnelly, the school board chairman, said in a letter to the community.
The district said it would also launch a website that would cover its response to the shooting which should be live in about a month. He also implemented secure email that would allow students, family members and community members to share information or request a meeting with investigators.