(WXYZ) — The newly appointed attorney for accused Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley broke her silence for the first time, speaking one-on-one with 7 Action News on Wednesday.
Crumbley, 15, is behind bars facing several charges including terrorism and four counts of premeditated murder after the shooting at Oxford High School last week. That could potentially lead to life in prison.
Attorney Paulette Michel Loftin says she's met with her client several times over video. She can't discuss those conversations, but she can say she's already asked for more resources, which were granted.
"Ethan’s being charged with very serious crimes — people still have rights, that's my job. As a defense attorney, it’s not as though I'm defending his actions, I'm defending him to make sure his rights are preserved," Loftin said.
With thousands of pages of police reports, videos, search warrants and other crucial evidence in the case to examine, Loftin, a court-appointed defense attorney, says she's already begun the work of representing Crumbley.
"There's a lot to look at. I've not been provided with anything yet, but I know that's forthcoming," Loftin said.
After several meetings with him over video and regular communication with prosecutors, she says she's not planning to confer with legal counsel for his parents, who face charges of their own of involuntary manslaughter.
"My focus is solely on Ethan and Ethan's case. I don't anticipate that the three of us will be working together since they're not charged on the same case," Loftin said.
Next, she says they’ll be waiting for the prosecutor to go through discovery to redact information not intended to be made public. From there, she says she'll be working with a court-approved co-counsel, assisting her to examine a massive amount of info as part of defense work.
With 12 years of experience handling capital murder cases, she says she considered a lot of facts in agreeing to represent Crumbley including how parts of the case have played out in the media.
"Obviously, the media is involved. I thought it was very important to make sure Ethan's rights are protected. Even being charged with very serious crimes, people still have rights," Loftin said.
Looking ahead, she acknowledges the impact of this case and the unique circumstances, especially with many details already shared publicly.
“I know there are so many emotions behind this case as there should be. There are a number of details that haven't been presented and haven't been brought to light," Loftin said.
She’s hoping those details “will come in due time.”
"I have to make sure my client understands every single piece of evidence that's going to be potentially against him, and that's my job,” Loftin said.
Loftin adds there could be delays in court hearings, simply based on the mountain of evidence and time it takes to go through it all.