Both parents of high school shooter Ethan Crumbley are charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison. They face a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison. They have been in jail awaiting trial since 2021. James Crumbly will be tried separately. Jennifer’s trial will undoubtedly have an impact on her husband’s trial.
This week, during her trial, Jennifer Crumbly, the mother of a teenage shooter who killed four classmates and wounded seven more, testified on the stand regarding the Oxford High School shooting in Michigan. She was interrogated about her affair, how her son got the murder weapon, and the meeting she had with school administrators regarding Ethan the morning of the killing. When asked to stand by her defense attorney, she replied, “I’ve asked myself if I would have done anything differently, and I wouldn’t have,” she continued when asked whether she had regrets. “I wish he would have killed us instead.”
The couple’s son was the perpetrator of a mass shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan in November 2021, which left seven students injured and four students dead. Last year, Ethan, who was 15 at the time of the shooting, was given a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
The parents of school shooter Ethan Crumbley, a sophomore at the time who was 15 years old, Jennifer Crumbley, 45, and James Crumbley, 47, feared their son was somehow involved almost immediately.
That morning, the parents had already convened an emergency meeting with school administrators after a teacher discovered alarming remarks and graphic drawings on a geometry test, including one showing a gun and bleeding victims. Hours before the massacre, Ethan made some disturbing remarks on a math worksheet, which prompted Jennifer and Jason to be called to the school. “The thoughts won’t stop. Please help me. The world is dead. My life is useless.”
Despite her claims to be “concerned” by the writings, she claimed that she believed he was only upset that they had denied him access to the shooting range due to his poor grades, but they had still let him spend the remainder of the day in class.
Lots of ways to analyze this #JenniferCrumbley case but let’s start with this. Why isn’t it simply illegal to give a gun to a 15-year-old? Great being on the TV with @michelleyutv and @cpegues. @LawCrimeNetwork pic.twitter.com/jNRld8urTj
— Rich Schoenstein (@LawfulRiches) February 2, 2024
In court, the teenager’s counselor expressed concern that the young man might be suicidal but did not believe he was plotting violence. Officials at the school decided that Ethan posed no immediate threat, so they did not send him home that day. She wrote, “You OK,” after that, perhaps thirty minutes before the shooting started. “We won’t pass judgment on you if you talk to us,”
(I am aware of). I appreciate you doing it. I cherish you. About thirteen minutes before he started shooting, the gunman answered.
As for why a gun was purchased for their son Ethan, Jennifer said her husband and her son bought it together as a Christmas gift, but on trial, she placed some of the blame on her husband. “I just didn’t feel comfortable being in charge of that. It was more his thing, so I let him handle that,” she said of how it was secured — adding, “I didn’t feel comfortable putting the lock thing on it.”
The prosecution brought up text messages where Jennifer bragged about Ethan’s gun on social media.
The prosecution was effective at making Jennifer look bad in front of the jury by discussing the 9-millimeter gun purchased for Ethan and showing how grossly negligent they were as parents.
Ethan was tried as an adult, and the issue could come up in appeal after a conviction. However, that defense would not go far for a reason for request.
The outcome of this trial will set a precedent for other school shootings.
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