In 2021, Ethan Crumbley came out of the bathroom, pulled a gun out of his backpack at school, and killed four students.
A Michigan jury convicted the mother of a school shooter of involuntary manslaughter in a first-of-its-kind trial to determine whether she had any responsibility for the 2021 killings of four students.
Prosecutors said Tuesday that Jennifer Crumbley was negligent in failing to tell Oxford High School that the family owned guns, including a 9mm handgun that her son, Ethan, used in a shooting. the attack of November 30.
Crumbley, 45, faces four counts of manslaughter, one for each of the victims. Her husband, James, 47, is due to stand trial next month.
Oakland County prosecutors argued during the trial that the mother, even though she did not pull the trigger herself, had carelessly put away the gun and ammunition and therefore should be held criminally responsible for the death.
They said she and her husband knew Ethan was mentally in a “downward spiral” and posed a danger to others, but allowed him access to the fateful gun.
They added that Crumbley had a duty under Michigan law to prevent her son, who was 15 at the time, from harming others.
But Shannon Smith, Crumbley's lawyer, argued that she was not responsible for purchasing or storing the gun her son used and that there were no warning signs indicating that he might harm his classmates or plan a crime.
Crumbley testified in her defense at trial and said her husband was responsible for safely storing guns at home and that her son was looking forward to college.
During Smith's closing arguments, she asked the jury, made up of six men and six women, including some gun owners, to find her client not guilty because her son's crimes were “unforeseeable.”
“Can every parent really be responsible for everything their children do? » Smith asked.
On the morning of the school shooting, staff members were concerned about Ethan's drawing of a gun, a bullet, and an injured man next to the words “Blood everywhere,” “My life is pointless,” and “The thoughts won’t stop – help me.” me”, during his math homework, met the Crumbleys.
According to prosecutors, Ethan's parents were told he needed counseling and to take him home, but the couple resisted taking him and did not search his bag or place any questions about the weapon.
However, Jennifer disputed this version, telling jurors that they had agreed that Ethan could stay at school that day and that they did not think he posed a danger. for the other students.
A few hours later, Ethan came out of the bathroom, took a gun out of his backpack and shot 10 students and a teacher, killing four students.
The gun used was a Sig Sauer 9mm that his father, James, had purchased four days earlier. Jennifer also took her son to a shooting range this weekend.
Ethan, now 17, pleaded guilty to murder and “terrorism” and is serving a life sentence.