Ethan Crumbley’s parents must stand trial in Oxford school shooting
Michigan school shooting suspect’s parents arrested after manhunt
Attorneys representing the parents of Ethan Crumbley, told the judge the Crumbleys were planning turn themselves in. Correction: The previous video incorrectly identified the names of the shooting suspect’s parents.
In an unprecedented move, the Michigan Court of Appeals ordered James and Jennifer Crumbley to stand trial for the deadly mass school shooting by their son, concluding there’s enough evidence to send the case to trial.
The Crumbleys are charged with involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of four students killed by their son, Ethan Crumbley, who used a gun his parents bought him as a Christmas present to carry out the massacre at Oxford High School in November 2021.
“The record squarely supports that “but for” (the Crumbleys’) acts and omissions, (Ethan Crumbley) would not have killed the victims that day … a reasonable fact-finder could conclude that (Ethan) would not have been able to shoot and kill four students but for (his parents’) decision to purchase their mentally disturbed son a handgun, their failure to properly secure the gun, and most importantly, their refusal to remove (their son) from school when he made overt threats to hurt other people,” the appeals court wrote in its opinion, adding: “ ‘But for’ (the parents’) informed decision to leave (their son) at school, these murders would not have occurred that day.”
In reaching its decision, the appeals court cited numerous factors, including the parents being summoned to the school on the morning of the shooting over a troubling note their son had drawn on his math worksheet. It included a gun, blood and the words, “The thoughts won’t stop, help me.”
“Despite their knowledge of all of these circumstances, when given the option to help (their son) and take him out of school, the defendants did nothing,” the appeals court wrote.
“They did not, contrary to the recommendations of (the school counselor) take (their son) home and get him immediate medical help. Nor, when they decided to leave him at school, did they tell school officials about (Ethan Crumbley’s) history of mental health issues nor explain to them that (their son) had access to a gun similar to the one he drew on the math worksheet.”
The appeals court also noted that the Crumbleys never asked their son if he had the gun with him “nor did they look in his backpack.” And, when they left the school, the court noted, the Crumbleys didn’t go home to make sure their son had not taken the gun.
“In light of those foreseeable events, when presented with what he had just drawn, written, and viewed that morning, a reasonable juror could conclude that it was foreseeable that (Ethan Crumbley) possessed his recently gifted gun and intended to use it that day,” the appeals court wrote in its opinion.
The Crumbleys, who are expected to appeal the decision to the Michigan Supreme Court, have long maintained that they had no idea their son was going to carry out a mass shooting and that they are not to blame for the deaths. But prosecutors argue the parents were grossly negligent, alleging they ignored their troubled son for years, and instead of getting him mental health services, they bought him a gun — the gun used in the killing.
Prosecutors have repeatedly argued that the Crumbleys – more than anyone else – could have prevented the shooting had they told the school that their son had access to a gun on the morning they were summoned to the school. Officials called them in over a troubling note Ethan made in math class that included a drawing of a gun, blood and the words: “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.”
More: Their son committed a Michigan school shooting. Now they’re fighting manslaughter charges.
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Moreover, prosecutors argue, the parents could have brought their son home from school that morning instead of asking if he could stay in class.
But that didn’t happen. Ethan stayed at school — the counselor concluded it would be better for him to be in school than at home alone. Two hours later, gunfire erupted.
Ethan Crumbley pleaded guilty to all charges last year and awaits sentencing. He faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole, though his lawyers are challenging that sentence given his age. He was 15 at the time of the shooting.
Tresa Baldas: email@example.com