Verdict Reached in Trial of Michigan School Shooter’s Mother: Accused Parent Faces Charges for Involuntary Manslaughter

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — The mother of Michigan school shooter Ethan Crumbley, Jennifer Crumbley, has been found guilty on four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the shooting at Oxford High School in November 2021. The jury delivered their verdict after hearing closing arguments from both sides and deliberating for several days.

Jennifer Crumbley and her husband James Crumbley are unusual cases as parents facing charges in a shooting carried out by their own child. James Crumbley, who also faces four counts of involuntary manslaughter, will have a separate trial scheduled for March.

Ethan Crumbley, who was 15 years old at the time of the shooting, has already been sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to 24 charges, including first-degree premeditated murder. Prosecutors presented evidence during the trial that highlighted the Crumbleys’ failure to respond to warning signs exhibited by their son prior to the attack.

School officials testified that they had called the Crumbley parents to the school on the morning of the shooting after discovering disturbing drawings and concerning online searches. Despite the school’s recommendation for immediate help and offers of same-day mental health care, the parents decided not to take their son home, citing work obligations and concerns about leaving him alone.

During the trial, Jennifer Crumbley’s attorney argued that the school had been “nonchalant” during the meeting and did not insist on taking her son home. However, evidence presented during the trial revealed Jennifer Crumbley’s extramarital affair with a long-time friend, Brian Meloche. In text messages sent after the shooting, she expressed regret and stated that the tragedy “could have been prevented.”

Prosecutors contended that the parents had purchased the gun used in the shooting as a gift for their son and failed to secure it or limit his access to it. Jennifer Crumbley claimed that it was her husband’s responsibility to ensure the gun was stored securely because she did not have extensive knowledge of firearms.

The trial also shed light on the culture in Oxford, where students going hunting with guns and taking prom portraits with firearms is common. Nevertheless, prosecutors argued that this doesn’t excuse the parents’ lack of action in securing the weapon or addressing their son’s concerning behavior.

As the trial unfolded, it was revealed that Jennifer Crumbley had multiple affairs, and she and Meloche had arranged meetups using an adult dating app. The prosecution emphasized that she spent significant time on her affairs and neglected her son’s messages, suggesting a lack of attention to his well-being.

As the jury delivered the verdict, Jennifer Crumbley now faces the consequences of her role in the tragedy. The case highlights the complex legal and ethical questions surrounding parental responsibility in cases involving school shootings.