Closing arguments prepared in trial for parent of Michigan school shooter


PONTIAC, Mich. — On Wednesday, lawyers in the trial of the father of a Michigan school shooter prepared for closing arguments after an out-of-state relative indicated she didn’t see anything troubling about the teen during two visits in 2021, months before the attack.

Karen Crumbley, the sister of James Crumbley, told the court that she saw her nephew Ethan in Florida and Michigan that spring and summer.

“Do you recall seeing anything concerning about your nephew? Do you recall him saying anything concerning to you?” defense attorney Mariell Lehman asked.

“No,” Karen Crumbley replied.

It did appear that Lehman was attempting to show jurors that family members saw no signs that indicated that he would ultimately commit a mass shooting at Oxford High School. Prosecutors have countered that James Crumbley, facing a charge of involuntary manslaughter, could have done more to prevent the slayings of four students.

After his sister’s brief appearance, Crumbley stood and stated that he would not testify in his own defense. There were no other defense witnesses.

“We talked about the benefits of you testifying. We talked about the risks of you testifying,” Lehman said.

“That is correct,” James Crumbley said.

Closing arguments on day five of the trial were scheduled for early afternoon. Judge Cheryl Matthews advised the jury to avoid overhearing any courthouse discussions about the high-profile trial.

“Starting over would be devastating to everyone,” she said.

James Crumbley, 47, stands accused of gross negligence in his failure to safely secure the gun used by then 15-year-old Ethan.

In an abysmal act of violence, the boy took the gun from their home to school, killing four students and wounding seven more people on Nov. 30, 2021.

It was said that his mental state was declining: Ethan, on the day of the attacks, had made a disturbing drawing of a gun and a wounded man on a math assignment and added disturbing phrases, “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.”

Despite being made aware of this, James and Jennifer Crumbley declined to take Ethan home that day following a brief meeting at the school. Ethan later in the same day pulled the Sig Sauer 9 mm handgun from his backpack and began shooting. No one, neither parents, educators, nor school administration had checked the bag.

The gun had been purchased by James Crumbley a mere four days prior.

The Crumbleys are the first U.S. parents to be charged with being criminally responsible for a mass school shooting committed by a child. Jennifer Crumbley, Ethan’s mother, 45, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter last month.

In her testimony at her own trial, she told the jury that she would not have done anything differently.

Ethan Crumbley, now 17, is serving a life prison sentence for murder and terrorism.

— with files from


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