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Oakland County prosecutor wants to stop release of Oxford High School shooting evidence in civil suit

Oxford High School sign. There are bouquets of flowers sitting on it. People are milling around in the background.
April Van Buren
Michigan Radio
Students, parents and community members marched in Oxford at a June demonstration, many in orange Oxford strong T-shirts or blue ones that said March For Our Lives.

The Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office wants to stop the release of all Oxford High shooting evidence held by the county sheriff. That's according to a Wednesday news release posted on social media by Prosecutor Karen McDonald.

Oakland County Circuit Judge Rae Lee Chabot ordered the evidence to be released in one of the civil suits filed against Oxford Community School District officials. That includes surveillance footage.

The prosecutor’s office said the release could impact criminal trials against the shooter and his parents. The office said it’s also concerned releasing evidence could give the shooter “the notoriety he sought.”

Families of two students killed in the shooting, Tate Myer and Justin Shilling, as well as three other students who survived sought the evidence as part of the civil suit.

Attorney Ven Johnson is representing the families and said the release of evidence is not up to the prosecutor.

“It's my clients' call,” he said. “They're entitled to this, and, very candidly, they should have been able to get all this information and evidence long before now.”

He said in civil litigation requesting the evidence’s release was “a very routine motion.”

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

"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 in the news release. “We want to avoid any public release of video or other evidence that could inadvertently encourage future shooters.”

Meanwhile, a judge this week has postponed the murder trial until January for Ethan Crumbley.

The teenager's lawyers said a September trial date wouldn’t leave enough time to go through evidence and prepare.

Judge Kwame Rowe set a trial for Jan. 17.

Crumbley's parents are charged with involuntary manslaughter.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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