Jennifer Crumbley’s parenting of her shooter son was broken down during closing arguments


PONTIAC, MI – Jurors were left Friday with two depictions of Jennifer Crumbley At the end of the closing arguments in her trial: on the one hand, an isolated mother who had multiple opportunities to prevent her son’s deadly rampage at school, and on the other, a hypervigilant but imperfect father who could not have predicted such violence.

Whether Crumbley’s decisions around the time of her son Ethan, Shoot OOxford High School On November 30, 2021, making her partly responsible for his actions will play a role in the jury’s decision of guilt or acquittal of manslaughter.

Deliberations are expected to begin on Monday An unprecedented trial – A rare attempt to hold the father of the school shooter accountable.

“I’m Jennifer Crumbley,” her attorney, Shannon Smith, told the jury during her closing argument, meaning any parent who works and is raising teens could inadvertently find themselves in the defendant’s position.

“This case is very dangerous for the parents out there,” she added.

During her closing argument, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald reviewed the testimony of nearly two dozen witnesses called, from school employees to Crombley’s co-workers, trying to explain how Crombley didn’t seem invested in her teenage son and then was overcome by “self-consciousness.” “Guilty.”

“I showed you everything. I called witnesses to the stand to say things that I know you probably didn’t like,” McDonald said, referring to the harrowing testimony and video shown to jurors about the shooting. “But my job is to give you everything,” he shot. the facts. But my job is also to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jennifer Crumbley is guilty, and I believe we have done that.

She listed several examples of what Crombley could have done to avoid the shooting when she and her husband, James, went to Oxford High School earlier that day to meet with school counselors concerned about a drawing Ethan made of a gun and someone he had shot.

She said Crombley could have warned counselors that her husband had bought a gun for Ethan, checked her son’s bag, returned home to make sure the gun was locked, or taken her son home or with her to work.

“The tragic thing about it is that none of it was difficult,” MacDonald said. “The smallest thing, the smallest thing could have saved the four students who were killed,” referring to the victims, Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Meyer, 16; Hana St. Juliana, 14 years old; and Justin Schilling, 17 years old.

The jury must decide whether Crombley, 45, is guilty of manslaughter in the deaths of the four students by either not storing the firearm in a way that would impede her son from accessing the gun and ammunition, or not exercising. “reasonable care” for her son and prevented him from carrying out the mass shooting.

Earlier Friday, prosecutors sought to dismiss Crombley’s self-description as a “wake-up parent and helicopter parent” when She returned to the position. They noted that she was too busy with her hobbies, such as her horses, and an extramarital affair, to notice her son’s mental condition deteriorating.

“On November 30, 2021 at 12:51 PM, you could have been with him?” Assistant Oakland County Prosecutor Mark Keast asked Crombley during his questioning.

“I could have done that, yes,” said Crumbley.

“And you didn’t?” Kest asked.

She replied: “No.”

That fateful decision to leave her 15-year-old son in school was part of a pattern of choices that prosecutors believe builds a case alleging Crombley was unlawfully negligent.

During cross-examination, the prosecution came up with the idea that Crombley was aware of warning signs that Ethan was disturbed, “depressed” and “acting sad,” especially when one of his best friends was gone, yet she never thought to ask Ethan for help. mental health professional in the months leading up to the shooting.

They questioned her about her previous testimony, in which she said that her husband was the one who bought him the semi-automatic pistol, and that while she was taking her son to the shooting range the weekend before the mass shooting, she left the armory. The weapon is for her husband.

This “was his own thing,” she testified Thursday.

Although she may have “entrusted” the responsibility of storing the gun to her husband, “it’s very clear that you didn’t trust James very much,” Keast said, noting that she had problems with him holding down a job and handling his money. And even get out of bed on time.

James Crombley, 47, is expected to stand trial next month on the same manslaughter charges.

Even after Jennifer and James Crombley were arrested after law enforcement found them hiding in a Detroit art studio, prosecutors noted that she still wasn’t worried about her son, who was taken into custody immediately after the shooting.

Prosecutors played her phone calls from the Oakland County Jail in which she asked her father to set up a GoFundMe to pay for her horses to be housed and to Google how many calories are in a bologna sandwich and other foods.

Keast wondered why her son was not mentioned in any prison phone calls during the first 10 days of her arrest. She replied that she didn’t think she could.

Emotions ran high throughout the week-long trial, as jurors heard from survivors of the shooting and watched video of the massacre from inside the high school. Crombley also cried repeatedly from her seat.

The jury on Thursday 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 9mm handgun.

During questioning on Friday, prosecutors responded that she was busy with her pursuits, including maintaining an affair that included meeting in a Costco parking lot once a week and even arranging a meeting on AdultFriendFinder, an app for sexual encounters.

“And this took up your time, energy and focus?” Kest asked.

“I don’t think it took a lot of time, no,” Crumbley said.

Later Friday, during her closing argument, Smith accused prosecutors of “cherry-picking” text conversations and messages to make Crombley appear negligent.

In turn, she said the messages Ethan was sending to his mother, including that he was seeing demons and that “the house is haunted,” were examples of how to communicate.

“This family played together and had fun. They did what families do,” Smith said. “The prosecution had no context because they had a tunnel vision that she was doing something wrong and was grossly negligent and they were determined to convince you that was the case.”

She also doubled down on the idea that Crombley did nothing to help her son because she simply did not recognize any mental distress.

“No parents would buy a gun if they thought their child was mentally ill,” Smith said. “These are people who had two other guns in the house for months and nothing ever happened with those guns.”

While Crombley’s “chaotic life,” including her extramarital affair, became one aspect of her trial, Smith urged the jury not to hold that against her.

“Most people in relationships don’t expect their children to do that,” Smith said.

Selena Guevara reported from Pontiac and Eric Ortiz from New York.

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