PONTIAC, MI — Jennifer Crumbley, the 45-year-old mother of the Oxford High School shooter, was found negligent by an Oakland County jury Tuesday after an emotional two-week trial to hold parents accountable for their children’s deaths. He was convicted of manslaughter. Action.

A jury of six men and six women found Crumbley guilty after deliberating for about 11 hours. Among four counts of manslaughter in the death of 14-year-old Hannah St. Juliana. Tate Mire, 16 years old. Madisyn Baldwin, 17 years old. and Justin Schilling, 17 years old.

The Crumbleys bought their son a gun as an early Christmas present four days before the shooting, a fact that, as first-time parents of a mass shooter, has never been so important in connection with a child’s crime. promoted the prosecution of those accused of serious crimes. Crumbley’s husband, James, 47, has also been charged with similar charges and is scheduled to go to trial in March.

On November 30, 2021, the Crumbleys’ 15-year-old son brought a gun to Oxford High School and killed four students and injured seven others. Ethan Crumbley was charged as an adult and pleaded guilty to 20 charges, including a rare terrorism charge. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole in December.

The case against Jennifer Crumbley and James Crumbley is at the forefront of prosecutions against the parents of the juvenile shooter, with some prosecutors questioning who is to blame for the child’s violent acts. This is a strategy some prosecutors are adopting as they reevaluate their ability to do so.

“Unfortunately, I think the big change is that as we grapple with a sea of ​​firearms, there will and should be more of these prosecutions,” said Eric Lyne, an attorney in Lake County, Illinois. Hart said. A father sponsored a gun card for the Highland Park shooter despite knowing he had mental health issues.

“This judgment confirms that the legal system holds parents criminally responsible. [allow] Their children have access to firearms, and they are aware of the dangerous words and actions of their children,” Reinhart said. He pointed out that in the Highland Park case, there was a two-year gap between the father’s actions and the harm they caused, which warranted a charge of reckless conduct. In Crumbley, “a period of hours or days justifies manslaughter,” he said.

Jennifer Crumbley’s reaction was not clearly visible as she sat hunched over next to her attorney as the jury foreman read the verdict Tuesday, but she was later detained and led away by sheriff’s deputies. she said with a disappointed look on her face.

Victims’ families and supporters reacted solemnly, with some quietly shedding tears and others breathing a sigh of relief. After the verdict was read, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald leaned into the bleachers and hugged Craig Schilling. His son Justin was among the students killed. “Thank you,” Schilling said quietly, shaking hands with members of the prosecution team.

Schilling told reporters after the sentencing that her son was a “wonderful person” and that she thought about him every day.

“He loved life and deserved to live it,” Schilling said. He said the conviction was important for accountability, noting there was still a trial to overcome.

Oakland County Circuit Judge Cheryl Matthews imposed a gag order on the Crumbley case barring McDonald and defense attorney Shannon Smith from commenting after Tuesday’s verdict.

McDonald and her team presented two theories in the case against Jennifer Crumbley. One charge was “gross negligence” for failing to properly store the gun her son obtained, and the other charge was that she failed in her legal duty to prevent her child from harming others. is.

Most of the evidence in Jennifer Crumbley’s trial had already been presented at her son’s hearing. The victim’s family said James Crumbley bought a gun for his son on a Black Friday sale four days before the shooting, and that Jennifer Crumbley took his son to the shooting range the next day. I asked him again how he had taken him there.

The court also heard that witnesses noticed in 2021 that the shooter’s counselor seemed more sad than usual, and that the shooter’s assistant principal had eye contact with the gunman when the massacre began. We also heard now-familiar testimony from witnesses including:

“When I realized it was Ethan, I had no idea he was the shooter,” Christy Gibson-Marshall, vice principal at Oxford High School, recalled on the stand.

Oxford High School counselor Sean Hopkins said the morning of the shooting, when Crumbley’s parents were called to the school to discuss the violent drawings and messages on the math assignment, he believed the shooter was suicidal, not homicidal. He testified that he feared he was showing signs of desire. The killer had scrawled the words “I can’t stop thinking.” Pictures of guns, bullets and bleeding bodies with the words “Help me”, “My life is worthless”, “Blood everywhere” and “The world is dead” .

Prosecutors also presented texts and Facebook messages that Jennifer Crumbley exchanged with her son, husband and friends that revealed some of the gunman’s actions eight months ago. These included texts in which she told her mother that she believed her house was haunted and that she could see demons and objects flying around the rooms.

Crumbley’s trial was the first time jurors heard either parent speak directly about their actions. Although the defense does not have to make a case because the burden of proof is on the prosecution, Smith called Crumbley as a witness. From her witness stand, Ms. Crumbley had the opportunity to rebut the prosecution’s case that she was a neglectful, aloof mother who ignored her son’s pleas for help.

She said her son had never had any problems and was aware that he might be depressed, but was struggling with the death of his grandmother and the family dog, followed by the relocation of his only friend. testified that he understood. Crumbley said the messages about seeing demons and people having hallucinations in the house were a play on her son’s family tradition that 1920s homes were haunted. It is said that it was interpreted as

She tracked her son’s grades and closely monitored when he returned home from school, but her personal diary and text messages with friends, where he shared more violent and alarming thoughts, were I didn’t read it, she said.

Crumbley’s son suffered from the pandemic and was worried about his future, including going to college, but he was not troubled “to the point where I felt he needed to see a psychiatrist,” she testified. .

At a counselors’ meeting the morning of the shooting, Crumbley said the counselors and deans alike assured her that, although she was concerned, they were dealing with a mental health issue, not a disciplinary one. He testified that he understood that. Ms. Crumbley’s son wanted to go back to her classes, and she said she and her husband had to get back to work.

Crumbley’s parents claim the gun was locked and hidden in his bedroom, separate from the ammunition, but they say they purchased a new gun during the visit and that their son recently visited a shooting range. was not mentioned. Neither his parents nor school officials searched the shooter’s backpack before he was returned to class. Two hours later, the boy opened fire at the school.

Jennifer Crumbley is scheduled to be sentenced in April. She could face up to 15 years in prison.



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