Michigan school shooter’s father found guilty of involuntary manslaughter


PONTIAC, MI — On Thursday, March 14, a jury found James Crumbley, the father of Michigan school shooter Ethan Crumbley, guilty of manslaughter for the deaths of four Oxford High students murdered by his son. This decision echoed that of the jury who found his wife, Jennifer Crumbley , 45, also culpable in the shooting deaths of 4 students at Oxford High School in November of 2021.

The 47-year-old has been found guilty of four counts of involuntary manslaughter, a crime that is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Upon hearing the verdict, it is reported that James Crumbley shook his head. He is expected to be sentenced on April 9.

The week-long trial came to its conclusion on March 13. The jury deliberated for almost 12 hours over two days.

In a trial that was held separately, a jury found 45-year-old Jennifer Crumbley, James Crumbley’s wife, guilty of four counts of manslaughter on Feb. 6. She is awaiting an April 9 sentencing. Jennifer and James Crumbley have remained in jail, currently with $500,000 bonds, since Dec. 3, 2021.

The Crumbleys are believed to the first parents of a school shooter ever to be formally charged with manslaughter based on murders committed by their child.

Their now-17-year-old son, who was a 15-year-old sophomore when he committed the shooting at Oxford High School on Nov. 30, 2021, did plead guilty to 24 felonies, including four counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Hana St. Juliana, 14, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, Tate Myre, 16 and Justin Shilling, 17. He is currently serving a mandatory life prison sentence.

Details of the proceedings show that the shooter’s parents were accused of gross negligence for failing to safely store the handgun used by their son in the attack in addition to not seeking help for their son when he exhibited warning signs of depression and possible mental illness.

It is reported that James Crumbley purchased the murder weapon, a 9mm Sig Sauer handgun, for his son four days prior to the shooting. Jennifer Crumbley stated that the gun was intended for target shooting at the range, a pastime the then-15-year-old shared with his father. On Nov. 29, however, school officials left Jennifer Crumbley a voicemail advising her that her son was caught looking at pictures of bullets on his phone in class.

She allegedly told her son, “next time, don’t get caught”.

On the morning of the shooting, a teacher discovered “concerning” violently graphic drawings and statements written on Ethan Crumbley’s geometry assignment and both parents were summoned to the school for an emergency conference. The teen had written, “Blood everywhere,” “My life is useless,” and “The world is dead,” alongside the drawings of a gun and a bleeding body with two bullet holes. The gun appeared similar the firearm purchased by the shooter’s father days earlier.

While the parents did agree to seek counseling for their son within 48 hours, they did, however, decline to remove him from school, citing work conflicts. Administrators permitted the teen to return to class with a backpack containing the gun. The mass shooting started at about 12:50 p.m.

In total, Ethan Crumbley fired his gun 32 times, striking 11 people, including 10 students, four whom died as a result of their injuries.

Prosecutors argued that the teen was clearly troubled and ought not have had access to a weapon.

The teen’s dog and grandmother had recently died, his only friend moved away, his grades were slipping and he was becoming increasingly reclusive.

It was further shown that, based on journal writings and a video manifesto the shooter recorded, the attack was premeditated.

“I’m going to be the next school shooter … ” he said in the video recorded about 10 p.m. on the eve of tragedy. “I’m gonna open fire on everyone in the hallway, I will try to hit as many people as I can, I will reload, and I will find people hiding …

“There’s no voices in my head. The voices are me … I am the demon.”

— with files from mlive.com


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