PONTIAC, Mich. (FOX 2) - Three months after pleading guilty to killing four students inside of Oxford High School, Ethan Crumbley was caught accessing a website that he had used prior to the shooting that showed torture, murder, and more violent content.
Oakland County Sheriff Lt. Tim Willis testified for several hours on Thursday. Throughout his time in the witness stand, he detailed Crumbley's journal, text messages, his knowledge of guns, and internet searches prior to the shooting.
Among the searches were phrases including details about the possible maximum sentence for the shooting. Willis also testified that Crumbley accessed a website that showed torture, murder, and more violent content.
In October 2022, Crumbley pleaded guilty to the crimes and a Miller Hearing was set to determine if he will be sentenced to life in prison – which would be the mandatory sentence if Crumbley were an adult (read more about the Miller Hearing and why it's required here).
During Willis' testimony, it was revealed that in January 2023, 16 months after the shooting, Crumbley used a jail-issued tablet to pull up a website that has been known to show violent murders and torture.
"He was given a tablet to use (to get his) GED (and) there are several reasons they're allowed to use it for. He was allowed to access the internet and he immediately went to a website that we know to be about real death, killings," Willis said.
During a hearing in February 2022, details about the tablet were revealed. It was to be shared among inmates and help minors with their education.
Willis said Crumbley was able to figure out how to bypass security and access more than the intended content, which led him to the website – which was not named in court.
According to Willis, Crumbley had accessed the website hundreds of times prior to the shooting – which included death, gore, and animals being blown up. After viewing the site ‘38 times’, Willis said he deleted his search history and then passed it to another juvenile.
This other minor went live on Instagram, which is what eventually led deputies to discover it and track it back to Crumbley, who admitted to not being to resist himself.
"He admitted to accessing the tablet improperly and then, when asked about what websites he looked at, he told the sergeant what he looked at and said ‘I didn’t want to. I tried to stop it and couldn't'," Willis said.
During cross-examination, it was revealed that the password had been saved on the device.
"On the tablet, you had to go into the settings and search for the password. But yes, from what I understand, it was saved," Willis said.
His attorney, Paulette Loftin, said Crumbley fully admitted to his actions and specifically how he found the password and had it unlocked for two weeks before he was caught.
Det. Edward Wagrowski testified later that Crumbley visited that same site hundreds of times before the shooting on Nov. 30, 2021 and again while in the Oakland County Jail.