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Manslaughter trial begins for Jennifer Crumbley, mother of Michigan school shooter

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(NEW YORK) — Jury selection began Monday in the trial of Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of Michigan school shooter Ethan Crumbley, over her alleged role in the November 2021 attack at Oxford High School that left four students dead and seven others injured.

Ethan Crumbley’s parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, have each been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the attack, a rare case of parents being charged in connection to a child’s mass shooting.

Jury selection is expected to take up to three days.

Jennifer and James Crumbley each pleaded not guilty to the four counts in December 2021. The couple had to be captured in Detroit following an hourslong search when they did not turn themselves in for their scheduled arraignment, according to law enforcement officials.

Ethan Crumbley, who was 15 years old at the time of the shooting, was sentenced to life without parole in December after he pleaded guilty to 24 charges, including first-degree premeditated murder and terrorism causing death.

Last year, the Michigan Court of Appeals allowed Jennifer and James Crumbley to stand trial separately over their alleged involvement in the shooting. James Crumbley’s trial is scheduled to begin on March 5, according to court records.

In October, the Michigan Supreme Court denied an appeal submitted on behalf of James and Jennifer Crumbley, who claimed there was not enough evidence for them to stand trial.

Crumbley’s parents are accused of allowing Ethan Crumbley access to the gun used in the shooting and failing to recognize warning signs.

Days before the shooting, a teacher allegedly saw Ethan Crumbley researching ammunition in class, and the school contacted his parents but they didn’t respond, according to prosecutors. But Jennifer Crumbley did text her son, writing, “lol, I’m not mad at you, you have to learn not to get caught,” according to prosecutors.

Hours before the shooting, prosecutors said a teacher saw a note on Ethan Crumbley’s desk that was “a drawing of a semi-automatic handgun pointing at the words, ‘The thoughts won’t stop, help me.’ In another section of the note was a drawing of a bullet with the following words above that bullet, ‘Blood everywhere."”

The Crumbleys were called to the school over the incident, and said they’d get their son counseling, but did not take him home, prosecutors said.

During his plea hearing in October 2022, Crumbley admitted in court that he asked his father to buy him a specific gun and confirmed he gave his father money for the gun and that the semi-automatic handgun wasn’t kept in a locked safe.

 

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