Jennifer and James Crumbley were the first parents to be tried in U.S. History for a mass shooting. Ethan Crumbley pleaded guilty in 2023 to murder and terrorist acts for the shooting that took place at Oxford High School, Michigan, on Nov. 30, 2021. Four students were killed and seven injured.
Ethan was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
In connection with the shooting, Jennifer Crumbley as well as her husband James Crumbley were both charged with four counts each of involuntary murder. Mr. Crumbley will be tried separately.
Jennifer’s fate was revealed on Tuesday: she was found guilty of 4 counts of involuntary murder.
— Nancy Grace (@NancyGrace) February 6, 2024
Crumbley sat silently as the verdict read.
BREAKING: A Michigan jury has found Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of the Oxford High School shooter, guilty of all four counts of involuntary manslaughter. pic.twitter.com/8MqB0SW3Uh
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 6, 2024
When answering questions from the defense last Thursday, Crumbley stated on the witness stand that:
You spend the rest of your life as a parent trying to protect your children from other dangers. You would never have thought that you would need to protect your child against harming another person. This is what I found so shocking. The hardest thing for me to accept was that my child had hurt and killed others.
The prosecution said that Crumbley ignored Ethan’s pleas for help and that he committed the crime with a gun that was allegedly given to him by the Crumbleys.
Shannon Smith, Jennifer’s lawyer, said in her closing remarks that the prosecution had “cherry-picked” evidence.
Real life is messy and complex. In this trial, I will admit openly that I am a lawyer with a tendency to make mistakes. This case is all about me, as a human, just like Mrs. Crumbley. She is not a flawless person or parent.
It’s not a very strong argument.
The prosecution suggested that Jennifer could have prevented the shooting from happening when she went to Oxford High School on Nov. 30 2021 in the morning, after Ethan had been caught scrawling disturbing messages in class.
In his notes, he included a picture of a pistol and phrases such as “Help me,” and “Blood all over.” He also included a drawing showing a gun.
Marc Keast, assistant prosecutor for Oakland County, said on Friday: “You could have been there with him.”
Jennifer Crumbley said, “I could’ve yes.”
The Crumbleys fled Oxford, after initial police questioning. The U.S. The Marshals caught up to them at the Canadian border a few days later, on December 4, 2021.
In her closing remarks, Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald stated:
Jennifer Crumbley began telling her story the moment this shooting was made public. She then ran. She didn’t just run because she was selfish. She started deleting texts, then she began telling a new story.
I am not an attorney and I’m not qualified to give a legal opinion on this case. However, I can make a few comments that aren’t legally based.
Jennifer and James Crumbley were terrible parents. Undoubtedly.
Did they ignore the cries for help of a 15-year-old boy who appeared to be deeply disturbed and showed a clear potential to commit violent acts? Again undoubtedly.
Could they have stopped them? Answer: The answer to this question is unknown.
The toughest question is: Should Jennifer Crumbley, and then James Crumbley have been convicted for a crime that her son committed? What do you think?