A Michigan jury on Tuesday convicted the mother of a school shooter of involuntary manslaughter in the first trial of its kind to determine whether she was in any way responsible for the deaths of four students in 2021.
Prosecutors said Jennifer Crumbley was grossly negligent and could have foreseen the violence before her son opened fire at Oxford High School.
She did not tell school officials that the family had a new 9 mm handgun that Ethan Crumbley had last used to kill other teenagers. The mother was accused of making the gun accessible at home and of failing to take care of her son’s mental health.
A school was alarmed by a gruesome drawing of a gun, a bullet and a wounded man on a 15-year-old’s maths paper, accompanied by the desperate words: “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.” But Ethan was allowed to stay at school on Nov. 30, 2021, after a brief meeting with his parents, who did not take him home.
A teenager pulled a gun from his backpack that afternoon and shot 10 students and a teacher, killing four students. No one checked his backpack.
His father, James Crumbley, had bought the gun just four days earlier on Black Friday. Jennifer Crumbley took her son to the shooting range that same week.
Jennifer Crumbley, 45, told jurors she wouldn’t have done anything differently but wished her son had “killed us instead.” She denied that he had mental problems.
James Crumbley, 47, is scheduled to go on trial in March on the same involuntary manslaughter charges. Now 17-year-old Ethan is serving a life sentence for murder and terrorism.