Jennifer Crumbley, mother of Ethan Crumbley, the perpetrator of the Oxford High School shooting in Michigan, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the deaths of four students in the November 2021 incident. The jury, after over 10 hours of deliberation, found her guilty on four counts, aligning with each of the victims. Her sentencing is set for April 9. This case marks a rare instance where parents are held accountable for their child’s actions in a school shooting. James Crumbley, her husband, faces similar charges and awaits trial in March.
Ethan Crumbley, 15 at the time, is serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to 24 charges, including first-degree murder and terrorism. Prosecutors highlighted the negligence of his parents, who bought him the gun and ignored multiple warning signs. The school had summoned the Crumbleys on the day of the shooting due to Ethan’s concerning behavior, including searching for bullets online, watching shooting videos, and drawing violent images. Despite the school’s recommendation for immediate mental health intervention, the parents opted to send Ethan back to class, citing work commitments.
Jennifer Crumbley’s defense argued that the school didn’t insist on Ethan being taken home and downplayed the seriousness of the situation. However, evidence revealed that Jennifer could have left work to attend to her son. Texts sent post-shooting expressed her regret, stating the tragedy could have been prevented. Ethan’s parents had gifted him the gun used in the shooting and failed to secure it properly. Jennifer claimed ignorance about guns and shifted responsibility to her husband. The defense also noted the cultural normalcy of gun use in Oxford, citing instances of students posing with guns for prom photos.