Justice Pending: James and Jennifer Crumbley, Parents of School Shooter, Await Verdict in Manslaughter Case!

On Tuesday, weeks after being convicted of manslaughter, James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of the adolescent who killed four students in the 2021 school shooting in Oxford, Michigan, are scheduled to be sentenced to prison.

Each faces a maximum of fifteen years in prison. Since their apprehension in a warehouse in Detroit shortly after the shooting, the two individuals have been incarcerated for nearly two years. Despite having been convicted separately, the parents will be sentenced jointly in a courtroom located in Oakland County.

Prosecutors requested that the judge sentence each parent to ten to fifteen years in state prison in separate sentencing memoranda, stating that the parents exhibited a “chilling lack of remorse.” The prosecution specifically noted that during multiple phone conversations, James Crumbley threatened to harm prosecuting attorney Karen McDonald. “Believe me, retribution is certain,” he stated in one, as the memo indicates.

However, parental attorneys have requested that their clients be given sentences of less than five years in prison each. The defense attorney for Jennifer Crumbley requested in a sentencing memo dated April 5 that the judge grant her client credit for the 27 months of incarceration she has already completed and permit her to be placed under house arrest “on a tether” at the attorney’s residence, where she can be supervised.

The memo states that Mrs. Crumbley would be able to “work remotely and begin to rebuild her life” without being physically present in the community. Jennifer Crumbley is “extremely distressed and remorseful” regarding the incident, according to the memo, and stated that a sentence of 29 to 57 months would be “more proportional” than the one requested by the prosecution.

James Crumbley’s defense attorney stated in a separate memorandum dated April 5 that his client had “expressed profound remorse” and sorrow for those who were impacted by the murders. He also requested that the judge impose one of the following sentences on Crumbley: 43 months in prison with credit for time served, or 28 months in prison with credit for time served, in addition to a maximum period of supervision.

Additionally, the defense refuted allegations that James Crumbley had threatened the prosecuting attorney with physical injury, stating that he “at worst engaged in frustrated name calling.”

The victims and their families will be afforded the opportunity to express their perspectives on the shooting’s repercussions prior to sentencing.

A dramatic saga that has stretched the boundaries of who is accountable for a mass shooting concludes with sentencing. Prosecutors charged the parents with manslaughter despite the fact that they did not discharge the firearm, employing an innovative legal theory. This marks the initial instance in which the parents of a school shooter have been charged with offenses of this gravity.

On November 30, 2021, Ethan Crumbley, who was 15 years old at the time, opened fire at Oxford High School with a Sig Sauer 9mm firearm he had brought from home. To his credit, six students and a teacher were injured in the incident.

Days later, his parents were apprehended and charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with their involvement in the homicides.

The Proceedings of the Trials

Prosecutors used testimony from school personnel, police investigators, and shooting survivors to prove at trial that the parents were “grossly negligent” in granting access to the firearm to their adolescent son and disregarding indications of his deteriorating mental health.

Specifically, the testimony indicated that four days prior to the murder, on Black Friday, James acquired the firearm for his son. Jennifer accompanied her son to the firing range the following day for target practice. “Mom and son spent the day testing out his new Christmas present,” she subsequently posted on social media. The prosecution contended that the parents neglected to adequately secure the firearm, as James Crumbley concealed it in their bedroom without employing a securing mechanism.

Additionally, the trials centered on a crucial encounter that transpired on the morning of the murder, which involved school personnel, Ethan, and his parents. After making disturbing writings on a math worksheet, including the phrases “blood everywhere” and “my life is useless” and drawings of a pistol and bullet, Ethan was summoned to the school office.

The parents declined the school personnel’s advice to remove him from class and seek mental health treatment promptly, citing work obligations. Neither the school nor the Crumbleys were informed of their recent firearm purchase. Following this, Ethan returned to class. Two hours later, he removed the firearm from his knapsack and began firing upon the school.

Jennifer Crumbley testified at her trial, attributing the shooting to her husband, the school, and her son while expressing no remorse for her own actions. She testified, “I have never considered what I would have done differently; there is nothing I would have changed.”

James Crumbley, on the other hand, abstained from testimony during his trial, and his counsel contended that he was ignorant of his son’s intentions or mental health concerns.

James Crumbley and Jennifer Crumbley were both found guilty of four counts of involuntary manslaughter in early February and March, respectively.

The prosecution’s sentencing memoranda contained pre-sentence investigation reports in which the parents maintained their defense of the defendant’s conduct.

“Having been falsely accused, I have been erroneously convicted of involuntary manslaughter.” “My conduct mirrored that of any other guardian,” James Crumbley composed. He also defended his gun safety efforts, stating that he “had no knowledge of what (my son) was about to do and was not presented with any warning signs.” “I abided by the law and prioritized gun safety to the fullest extent possible.”

Jennifer Crumbley attempted to elucidate her testimony in her report by stating that she would not have taken any different actions. “Obviously, armed with the knowledge that I currently possess, my response would be substantially altered. “Should I have the ability to return in time, I would change countless things,” she exclaimed. “I never envisioned that he would cause such severe harm to others.”

The defense counsel for the parents has contended that the charges lack legal validity; however, the charges have been upheld by appeals courts.

Life without parole was the sentence handed down to Ethan last year, following his guilty plea to terrorism resulting in death, four counts of murder, and nineteen other offenses related to the crime. His attorneys advised him not to testify in the trials of his parents, citing his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.


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