The Prosecution and Defence Argue About Expert Witnesses

Michigan’s PONTIAC (FOX 2) – During a pre-trial hearing on Friday, the defense attorneys for James and Jennifer Crumbley attempted to cast doubt on the testimony of two expert witnesses presented by the prosecution. The two witnesses, Drs. Dewey Cornell of the University of Virginia and Dr. Jillian Peterson of Hamline University, have both conducted studies on mass shootings and strategies that could stop them.

Both professors presented their findings in court and discussed how they related to mass shootings, with a focus on mass school shootings. Both highlighted that while they couldn’t be predicted, mass shootings could be avoided. The expert on mass shootings who has testified before Congress and written scores of studies on the subject, Cornell, said: “We can’t forecast where lightning will hit, but we know we don’t want to be in a swimming pool in a storm.”

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Prior to Oct. 28, Peterson had never testified in court. He has worked to understand the biographies of mass shooters and the patterns they display before carrying out the shooting. Peterson has also published data that both public and private organizations could use to help prevent school shootings. Her efforts resulted in the publication of “The Violence Project,” a book that details the phases that shooters, particularly those who target schools, go through before committing their crimes.

Judge Cheryl Matthews held a pre-trial hearing to determine if the prosecution might summon witnesses to testify in the upcoming trial of Ethan Crumbley’s parents, who are each facing four charges of involuntary manslaughter for their son’s participation in the mass shooting at Oxford High School. Within seven to ten days, according to Matthews, she would decide whether to allow the experts to testify.

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