Father of Michigan School Shooter faces trial


PONTIAC, Mich. — A father of a teen who purchased a gun with his son four prior to a Michigan school shooting is headed to trial, facing charges of failing to take steps that could have prevented the teen from killing four students and wounding others.

While, no one has stated that James Crumbley knew what Ethan Crumbley planned to do at Oxford High School on Nov. 30, 2021, prosecutors allege that his “gross negligence” was the causal factor of the violence.

This is the second act for prosecutors as the mother, Jennifer Crumbley was convicted of the same involuntary manslaughter charges a month ago. The Crumbleys are the first U.S. parents to be charged with having criminal responsibility in a mass school shooting committed by a child.

It is reported that jury selection in James Crumbley’s case started Tuesday in Oakland County, north of Detroit.

“I don’t think it’s overreach,” Rick Convertino, a Detroit-area defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor, said of the trials.

“I think the prosecution did an excellent job in putting the links of the chain together” during Jennifer Crumbley’s case, Convertino said. “What led to the horrific shootings could easily have been prevented by simple and ordinary care.”

It is said that James Crumbley, accompanied by 15-year-old Ethan, did buy a Sig Sauer 9 mm handgun over Thanksgiving weekend in 2021. The teen referred to it as his “new beauty” on social media. His mother, also posted to social media, describing the gun as a Christmas gift and took Ethan to a shooting range.

A few days later, the parents were summoned to Oxford High to discuss a violent drawing on Ethan Crumbley’s math assignment, which included the tormented phrases: “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me. The world is dead. My life is useless.” There was a drawing of a gun on the paper that resembled the Sig Sauer.

The parents did not disclose the gun purchase and subsequent visit to the shooting range, assistant prosecutor Marc Keast said in a court filing.

On that day, the Crumbleys didn’t take Ethan home, and the school didn’t demand it. However, the parents departed with a list of area mental health services. School counselor Shawn Hopkins said Jennifer Crumbley cited work as the reason to keep her son in class.

“I don’t remember James speaking on that topic,” he testified.

All involved, the parents and school staff failed to the boy’s backpack for a gun, and the shooting happened that afternoon.

James Crumbley called 911, frantically saying, “I think my son took the gun.”

Convertino predicts that this call will prove to be “extraordinary, powerful evidence” for prosecutors, who will argue that the father failed to safely store the gun and ammunition.

Defense lawyers, however, said the parents could not have foreseen a mass shooting.

The case “begs the question of when a parent will cross the subjective line of ‘good parenting’ and render himself or herself criminally liable for the independent acts of a teenager,” Mariell Lehman and Shannon Smith said in a court filing.

Ethan, now 17, is now serving a life prison sentence for murder and terrorism. He told a judge at the time of the guilty plea, that it was his money that was used to buy the gun and that the weapon was not locked at home.

Jennifer Crumbley will return to court for sentencing on April 9. The minimum prison term in her case could be as high as 10 years.

Both parents have been in jail for more than two years. They were unable to post a bond of $500,000 each, following their arrest at a friend’s art studio in Detroit. They insisted they were not trying to flee.

— with files from uppermichiganssource.com


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *