Jennifer Crumbley, Mom Of School Shooter, Could Face Up To 15 Years In Prison
Crumbley has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter following a 2021 shooting perpetuated by her son, Ethan.
Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of 17-year-old Ethan Crumbley who shot four students and injured others in a 2021 school shooting in Oxford, Michigan, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter on Tuesday, Feb. 6 in Pontiac Michigan. This is an unprecedented verdict that calls into question a parent’s responsibility in school shooting cases in the future.
On Nov. 30, 2021, then 15-year-old Ethanshot and killed four of his classmates — Hana St. Juliana, 14; Tate Myre, 16; Justin Shilling, 17; and Madisyn Baldwin, 17 — and injured seven others at Oxford High School outside of Detroit. Ethan Crumbley, who was charged as an adult, plead guilty to murder, terrorism, and other crimes, and was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole. Jennifer Crumbley, was found guilty on all four counts, could spend up to 15 years in prison and remains held on bond. Her husband and Ethan’s father, James Crumbley, has also been identically charged with involuntary manslaughter, and his trial begins next month.
Oakland County prosecutors called 20 witnesses in its case against Crumbley and brought more than 400 pieces of evidence to court, including text messages and photos from the mother’s cell phone and footage taken on the day of her son’s shooting spree. The prosecution argued that both Jennifer and James Crumbley ignored signs that their son was a danger and even bought him a 9mm Sig Sauer— the very same weapon he would eventually bring to school to kill his classmates days later.
The Crumbleys were called to the school on the morning of the shootings, though prior to the crime, as administrators were concerned about a picture Ethan had drawn in math class— a hand gun and a bleeding body beside the words “The Thoughts Won't stop help me.” The pair did not disclose that Ethan had access to unsecured guns at home. The school gave Ethan the option of staying in school that day or going home— the Crumbleys, who had to go back to work, vowed to get Ethan help within 48 hours and opted to allow him to stay, not believing him to be a safety risk. (School officials backed up this description of events, but also asserted that they’d expected the Crumbley’s to pull him from class following the meeting.)
The defense brought one witness to the stand, Jennifer Crumbley herself, who contended that it was her husband who has purchased the gun for Ethan and she was not aware that his mental health was in a state that would benefit from professional help. “There was a couple of times when Ethan had expressed anxiety over taking tests, anxiety about what he was going to do after high school, whether it was college, military,” Crumbley said per NBC News. “So he expressed those concerns to me. Not to a level where I felt he needed to see a psychiatrist or mental health professional right away.”
She went on to say that she “wouldn’t have done anything differently,” when she looks back after more than two years.
Jennifer Crumbley is the first parent of a school shooter to be charged and tried in the history of the United States. Her conviction could potentially change the way prosecutors look at parental responsibility in cases of gun violence, especially in an era that has been so tragically marked by school shootings. She is scheduled for sentencing on April 9.