Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of the Michigan shooter, stands trial for manslaughter
PONTIAC, MI – Jennifer Crumbley said her teenage son Ethan was worried about his future and would get stressed, but his mental health never bothered her enough that she felt he needed to see a professional.
“I mean there were a few times that Ethan was stressed and anxious while taking the tests,” Crombley, 45, said after taking the stand Thursday at her manslaughter trial.
“Not to the level where I felt he needed to see a psychiatrist or mental health professional immediately,” she added.
Her relationship with her teenage son was the crux of her highly anticipated testimony, which her attorney said will show why the Michigan mother “never expected” he would fire in 2021.
Crumbley, who was charged with manslaughter after her son, Ethan, Four students were killed at Oxford High Schoolis an unusual case in which the father of a school shooter faces criminal liability.
Prosecutors said she was aware of her son’s declining mental health and social isolation, and that he had a gun, but she cared more about her horses than his.
“Jennifer Crumbley did not pull the trigger that day, but she is responsible for their deaths,” Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Keast said during his opening statement.
But her defense told the jury that although she was a caring mother, she did not know her son was capable of such violence, suggesting it was his school that failed to fully inform her and her husband who was responsible for storing the weapon.
“She’s going to stand up and tell you about her life with her son, about the day he became the shooter, about the day he did something that she could never have predicted or understood or anticipated,” Smith said in her opening statement. The jury added: “You will hear that the school never advised Mrs Crombley on problematic issues.”
Jennifer Crombley’s husband, James, is scheduled to face his own trial next March on the same manslaughter charges.
If found guilty, the Crombleys each face up to 15 years in prison and a $7,500 fine on each count.
The trial mostly centered around the day of the shooting on November 30, 2021.
Within a week of presenting the case, prosecutors called more than 20 witnesses, including law enforcement and school personnel, and presented text messages and video evidence, including school surveillance of the shooting itself.
The video of the shooting prompted Crumbley to put her head down and cry.
One day after Thanksgiving, prosecutors said James and Jennifer Crombley bought their son a Sig Sauer 9mm watch as an early Christmas present.
Three days after the purchase, a teacher at Oxford High School said she saw him searching online for ammunition, according to prosecutors, and the school left a voicemail for his mother. The next day, a teacher said she found a note on Ethan’s desk with a drawing of a gun and a person getting shot, and messages including: “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.”
The discovery prompted the school to call the parents to a meeting, but school officials testified that they refused to send him home because they had to return to work.
Officials also said that if the parents had informed them that their son had obtained a gun, they would have been more empowered to ensure his immediate safety.
Ethan would go on to shoot up the school later that afternoon.
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.
Selena Guevara reported from Pontiac and Eric Ortiz from New York.
This is a developing story. . Please check back for updates