The Public Prosecution files the case against the mother of the school shooter after trying to portray her as negligent
PONTIAC, MI – Prosecutors in Trial of Jennifer Crumbley Their case ended Thursday after a week of extensive testimony from more than 20 witnesses, text messages and police video evidence — intended to show that the Michigan woman knew about her teenage son’s mental state and the possibility of him obtaining a gun, yet neglected to act on it. The day A. was committed Heavy gunfire In 2021.
Crombley’s trial for manslaughter is a trial A rare case of charges Filed against the father of the school shooter.
Earlier on Thursday, the jury heard excerpts from Ethan Crombley’s memoir in which he wrote: “My parents won’t listen to me about help or a therapist,” expressed a desire to “shoot up” his school and said he would get a job. A 9 mm handgun, which his parents had helped the 15-year-old purchase days before the shooting.
Later, Crombley, 45, put her head down and cried as school surveillance video of the shooting was played for jurors. Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Detective Lt. Tim Willis, who investigated the shooting, was on the stand in tears as he explained what was shown.
During questioning, Willis agreed that investigators had no evidence that Crumbley knew about her son’s diaries.
Ethan Crombley will continue to do so Four students were killed and several others were injured At Oxford High School. He pleaded guilty as an adult to murder, terrorism and other crimes, and he was He was sentenced in December to life imprisonment Without parole. His new legal team The possibility has been suggested Appealing the ruling, Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Matthews confirmed Thursday that he does not have to testify for the defense after his lawyers said he would refuse to answer questions on the stand.
Prosecutors tried to paint Crombley, 45, as a neglectful mother who knew about her son’s mental problems and failed to intervene, while allowing him access to firearms and caring more about her horses than his safety. The defense highlighted correspondence in which she tried to show she cared for him, suggested she was unaware of the true seriousness of her son’s deteriorating mental health, and blamed her husband James Crombley and the school.
James Crombley, 47, faces a separate trial scheduled to begin in March on the same manslaughter charges.
So far, the mother’s trial has stirred the emotions of those present in the courtroom, from the defendant to the witnesses to the families of the victims in attendance and even the lawyers. The prosecution and defense frequently interrupted each other and ended the hearing on Friday by shouting in the absence of the jury, after the prosecution accused defense attorney Shannon Smith of making an inappropriate joke.
The judge ended the court by interrupting both sides of the hearing. “Well, everyone should go home,” Matthews said.
Prosecutors assert that Crombley acted in a “grossly negligent” manner in causing the death of Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Meyer, 16; Hana St. Juliana, 14 years old; and Justin Schilling, 17 years old.
The charges revolve around whether the mother failed to store the firearm in a manner that would prevent her son from obtaining the gun and ammunition, and whether she failed to perform a legal duty to the students who were killed due to their negligence to exercise “reasonable care” and prevent her son from committing the shooting. .
In instructing the jury, the judge said they did not all need to agree on the prosecution’s two theories, as long as all jurors believed Crombley was guilty of at least one of them. Jurors were tasked with evaluating more than 400 pieces of evidence, and many took notes while the prosecution showed text messages and photos to support its case.
Early on, jurors saw photos on Crombley’s phone of her and her husband riding their horses in March 2021. A computer crimes expert testified that they were taken at the same time their son was texting his mother about seeing demons in their home, writing. “The house is haunted” and asks her, “Can you at least answer the texts?”
Crombley did not respond, according to the thread, but called her son 90 minutes after texting him in a 19-second call.
Kira Pinnock, the Crumbley family’s horse caretaker, testified Monday that Crumbley didn’t mention her son much while riding, but would sometimes say she was having problems with him or that he was acting strange, even referring to him as a “baby.” “
Pinnock later testified that Crombley sent her a picture of her son’s math homework with a gun drawn on it, and once she learned of the school shooting, “my first thought was, ‘I know who the shooter is'” based on the drawing. She saw.
The defense suggested Pinnock’s gut feeling came from “looking back and connecting the dots,” but there was no way of knowing that Ethan Crombley would open fire on November 30, 2021.
The defense stressed that text messages on Crombley’s phone indicated she cared for her son, and she wrote to her husband and the mother of her son’s friend that she was concerned. “He’s upset and I don’t want him to do anything stupid, dammit,” she wrote in one message.
In the hours following the shooting, Crombley was seen on video telling a police officer in the back of a police car: “I never thought he had mental issues… I don’t understand it, I don’t understand what it means.” It happened.” In the days after the shooting, Crombley texted Brian Milosh, a man she had an extramarital affair with, saying: “I still can’t even figure out where his brain went off.”
Melosh testified Wednesday that Crombley never complained to him about mental health problems her son might be suffering from.
But on the day of the shooting, when she and her husband were called that morning to Oxford High School because of Ethan Crombley’s drawing of the gun the teacher had discovered, Crombley relayed her concerns. She “was worried he was going to do something stupid,” he testified.
Melosh said he also asked Crumbley where the gun was, because “if something happened, it would cause immediate, irreparable damage.”
Much of the testimony and evidence centered on the day of the shooting as the defense attempted to shift blame from Crombley to the school.
James and Jennifer Crumbley were in the counselor’s office for less than 15 minutes discussing their son’s drawing of the gun, school surveillance video showed. After the meeting, Crombley texted about scheduling a horse riding lesson before texting her son: “You know you can talk to us, you know we won’t judge,” according to evidence presented in court.
Shawn Hopkins, a school counselor, testified Monday that he was “surprised” when the Crombleys refused to take their son home after the meeting because they had to go back to work. Ethan Crombley would continue to carry out shooting that afternoon.
School officials also testified that if the parents had informed them that their son had a gun, they would have been more empowered to ensure immediate safety.
Jurors were shown a video of the Crombley family reuniting with their son after he was arrested by police. The shooter’s mother can be heard repeatedly asking him: “Why?” And his father says: “I love you.”
Early on, the defense tried unsuccessfully to block several text message exchanges without the shooter or his psychiatrists testifying to add context. Throughout the trial, the defense asked the judge to admit much of the evidence she had originally ruled suppressed, including texts indicating Crombley’s alcohol use and testimony about her extramarital affair.
Smith also asked the judge to allow admission of more than 2,000 pages of unredacted Facebook messages — the entire exchange between James and Jennifer Crumbley from January 2021 — to give the jury more information, rather than the “shards of evidence” she accuses her of. The prosecution was accused of submitting.
Selena Guevara reported from Pontiac and Eric Ortiz from New York.