Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of a 15-year-old who pleaded guilty to murdering four students in a 2021 school shooting, allegedly did nothing to prevent her son from carrying out the attack despite being aware of his “growing social isolation” and violent drawings he’d made in school, a prosecutor said in a Michigan courtroom Thursday.
Four teenagers were killed during the Nov. 2021 shooting inside Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich., and seven other people, including a teacher, were wounded. The four victims who died from injuries sustained in the shooting were Hana St. Juliana, 14, Tate Myre, 16, Justin Shilling, 17, and Madisyn Baldwin, 17.
Shortly after the killings, the parents of shooter Ethan Crumbley were arrested following a manhunt after they initially went into hiding. They were charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter each.
- Jennifer Crumbley allegedly “chose to do nothing” to prevent her son from carrying out the shooting that killed four students in 2021, the prosecutor said in opening arguments
- The prosecution presented a math worksheet on which the shooter had drawn guns and other violent imagery, which concerned his school counselor
- The shooter’s lawyers are trying to keep him from testifying in the trial, according to reports
Crumbley was “still given the opportunity to prevent” the incident just hours before the shooting, said Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Marc Keast in court, noting that the shooter’s parents had a meeting with school officials just hours before the shooting.
According to Keast, Crumbley ended the meeting abruptly and did not take her son home or check his backpack, which contained the murder weapon.
“Instead, she chose to do nothing,” Keast said.
Keast also presented a social media post by Crumbley days before the shooting where, Keast said, she “celebrated” the purchase of the gun that was used in the shooting.
“By the time this gun was bought, the school shooter was on a downward spiral that had begun months before,” Keast said, adding that Crumbley was aware of his disturbing behavior.
In her opening statements, Crumbley’s attorney, Shannon Smith, disputed these claims. Smith said the school didn’t notify Crumbley about her son’s deteriorating performance or pattern of disturbing behavior.
In December, the shooter was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to 24 charges, including terrorism, in 2022.
Crumbley, along with her husband James Crumbley, who is also facing involuntary manslaughter charges, are facing separate trials this year, according to Fox 2 Detroit, The Detroit News and NBC News reported.
In October, the Michigan Supreme Court had denied the couple’s appeal of a prior judgement that had cleared them to face trial in connection with the shooting.
Days prior to the shooting, a teacher tried to contact Jennifer Crumbley to notify her about internet searches on the shooter’s phone for ammunition, but the mother did not respond to them. She later texted her son and said, “Lol I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught,” Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said in 2021.
When the news of the shooting was made public after 911 calls came in at 12:51 p.m., Jennifer Crumbley texted her son at 1:22 p.m., “Ethan, don’t do it,” McDonald said.
The shooter’s lawyers will be appealing his life sentence and are trying to make sure he doesn’t testify in his parents’ trial, The Detroit Free Press reported, citing authorities.