- Jennifer Crumbley — whose son killed four people and injured dozens more at Oxford High School in Michigan in 2021 — took the stand Thursday on the sixth day of her trial as prosecutors look to hold her criminally responsible for her son's school shooting. Her son Ethan pleaded guilty to the shooting and is serving life in prison.1
- Jennifer Crumbley and her husband, James, each face four counts of involuntary manslaughter for their son's attack, and James will have a separate trial in March. During her hourslong testimony, Jennifer said that she and her husband often talked about their son's warning signs while also disputing school officials' claims that she did not adequately address her son's deteriorating mental health.2
- The Crumbleys are the first parents in the US to face prison time over a child's school shooting. Prosecutors say that Crumbley ignored her son's drawings that depicted shootings and had notes saying things like: 'The thoughts won't stop. Help me.' The Crumbleys also bought their then-15-year-old son a gun on Black Friday, just days before the shooting.3
- Crumbley rejected claims that she neglected her son, but she said that she 'failed as a parent' and that she wished her son had killed her and her husband instead. Crumbley also said that she was close to her son and trusted him enough to not go through his text messages, however, she acknowledged that she read Ethan's messages about seeing ghosts but did not believe he was serious.4
- Crumbley shifted the blame to her husband, saying that he bought Ethan the murder weapon and was in charge of storing it. Cross-examination began Friday, and prosecutors questioned Crumbley about a variety of topics — including her son's state of mind.5
- School officials served as witnesses, saying that Crumbley was notified about her son's graphic drawings and that counselors advised that Ethan receive mental help. The morning of the shooting, the Crumbleys met with school officials, but they decided against taking their son home since they believed he struggled to work remotely.6
Sources: 1BBC News, 2ABC News, 3Detroit Free Press, 4CNN, 5CBS and 6FOX 2 Detroit.
- Narrative A, as provided by The Daily Beast. The prosecution's argument against Jennifer Crumbley was damning, and many pieces of evidence show that she and her husband should be held responsible for their son's shooting. Well before the shooting, many people could tell that Ethan was struggling severely with his mental health, and he was crying for help with his drawings and statements. In addition to neglecting their emotionally damaged teenager, the Crumbleys bought Ethan the very weapon he would use days later to massacre his classmates.
- Narrative B, as provided by New York Times. While Jennifer Crumbley is far from a perfect parent, she is being punished enough by the shame and guilt from her son's actions, and she should not be held criminally responsible. Every day Crumbley will have to live with the fact that she raised a school shooter and that her son took four innocent lives. That pain and burden are even greater than prison time, and she has demonstrated her overwhelming regret and remorse. No parent has ever been held criminally responsible for a child's school shooting, and that precedent should stand.