Father of victim says Jennifer Crumbley’s four manslaughter convictions for failing to stop her school shooter son will act as a deterrent for other parents of troubled children

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Jennifer Crumbley was convicted of four counts of involuntary manslaughter
  • Her son Ethan, 17, killed four kids and wounded seven others at Oxford High
  • A Jury found she had duty to prevent the shooting and failed to secure gun 

The father of a 17-year-old boy gunned down in the Oxford High School shooting hopes Jennifer Crumbley’s conviction will wake up other parents. 

‘The cries have been heard, and I feel this verdict is gonna echo throughout every household in the country,’ Craig Shilling said outside the courtroom moments after Jennifer Cumbley was found guilty. 

Crumbley’s son Ethan, 17, killed four classmates and wounded seven others in a shooting spree at the Michigan school on November 30, 2021.

She was convicted on Tuesday of four counts of involuntary manslaughter, making her the first parent in the US to be held responsible for a child carrying out a mass shooting.

Shilling, whose son Justin was one of the four murdered students, was present for the verdict at Oakland County Circuit Court.

Craig Shilling (left), whose son Justin was one of the four murdered students, was present for the verdict at Oakland County Circuit Court

Jennifer Crumbley (right, with her attorney Shannon Smith) looked stunned as the jury read its guilty verdict on Tuesday, as she became the first parent to ever be convicted over their child's school shooting

Jennifer Crumbley (right, with her attorney Shannon Smith) looked stunned as the jury read its guilty verdict on Tuesday, as she became the first parent to ever be convicted over their child’s school shooting 

Justin Shilling died in the hospital

Tate Myre died at the school

Justin Shilling, 17, (left) and Tate Myre, 16, (right) were two of four students killed in the senseless shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan

‘I feel it’s necessary, and I’m happy with the verdict. It’s still a sad situation to be in. It’s gotta stop. It’s an accountability, and this is what we’ve been asking for for a long time now,’ Schilling said. 

Prosecutors said Jennifer Crumbley had a duty under state law to prevent her son, who was 15 years old at the time, from harming others.

She was accused of failing to secure a gun and ammunition at home and failing to get help to support Ethan Crumbley’s mental health, despite several warnings.

The four guilty verdicts — one for each student slain at Oxford High School — were returned after about 11 hours of deliberations.

Jennifer Crumbley, 45, looked down and shook her head slightly as each juror was polled after the verdicts were read.

On her way out of the courtroom, prosecutor Karen McDonald hugged relatives of Shilling and Madisyn Baldwin.

‘Thank you,’ a man whispered to her.

Shilling said he hoped Jennifer Crumbley's conviction would wake up other parents

Shilling said he hoped Jennifer Crumbley’s conviction would wake up other parents

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald hugs Shilling after the verdict

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald hugs Shilling after the verdict

Jennifer and James Crumbley were the first parents in the US to be charged in a mass school shooting committed by their child. James Crumbley faces trial in March.

A gag order by the judge prevented McDonald and defense attorney Shannon Smith from speaking to reporters.

On the morning of November 30, 2021, school staff members were concerned about a violent drawing of a gun, bullet, and wounded man, accompanied by desperate phrases, on Ethan Crumbley’s math assignment. 

His parents were called to the school for a meeting, but they didn’t take the boy home.

A few hours later, Ethan Crumbley pulled a handgun from his backpack and shot 10 students and a teacher. No one had checked the backpack.

The gun was the Sig Sauer 9mm his father had purchased with him just four days earlier. Jennifer Crumbley had taken her son to a shooting range that same weekend.

Outside the courthouse, the jury forewoman, who declined to give her name, said jurors were influenced by evidence that Jennifer Crumbley was the last adult to possess the gun. That ‘really hammered it home,’ she told reporters.

Ethan Crumbley pleaded guilty to his crimes and is currently serving life in prison without the possibility of parole, after murdering four classmates in the Oxford High School shooting in 2021

Ethan Crumbley pleaded guilty to his crimes and is currently serving life in prison without the possibility of parole, after murdering four classmates in the Oxford High School shooting in 2021

James Robert Crumbley was also charged over the shooting.

Jennifer Lynn Crumbley's mugshot. She and her husband have both been in jail for two years awaiting trial

James and Jennifer Crumbley were both charged in connection with their son’s shooting, the first time parents have faced charges over a school shooting 

Indeed, the jury saw images of Jennifer Crumbley leaving the shooting range with the gun in a box.

‘You saw your son shoot the last practice round before the (school) shooting on Nov. 30. You saw how he stood… He knew how to use the gun,’ assistant prosecutor Marc Keast said while cross-examining the mother last week.

‘Yes, he did,’ Jennifer Crumbley replied.

In her closing argument Friday, McDonald said she filed the unprecedented charges because of the ‘unique, egregious’ facts leading up to the massacre. 

School officials insisted they would not have agreed to keep Ethan Crumbley on campus that day if the parents had shared information about the new gun, which the boy on social media called his ‘beauty’.

The words with the disturbing drawing said: ‘The thoughts won’t stop. Help me. The world is dead. My life is useless.’

‘He literally drew a picture of what he was going to do,’ McDonald said. ‘It says, ‘Help me.’

Besides 17-year-old Justin Shilling and 17-year old Madisyn Baldwin, Hana St Juliana, 14, and Tate Myre, 16, were also killed. Seven people were wounded.

Madisyn Baldwin, 17

Hana St Juliana, 14

Madisyn Baldwin, 17, (left) and Hana St Juliana, 14, (right) died in the 2021 shooting rampage at Oxford High School in suburban Detroit 

Ethan Crumbley, now 17, pleaded guilty to murder and terrorism and is serving a life sentence.

Jennifer Crumbley told jurors that it was her husband’s job to keep track of the gun. She also said she saw no signs of mental distress in her son.

‘We would talk. We did a lot of things together,’ she testified. ‘I trusted him, and I felt I had an open door. He could come to me about anything.’

In a journal found by police, Ethan Crumbley wrote that his parents wouldn’t listen to his pleas for help.

‘I have zero help for my mental problems and it’s causing me to shoot up the… school,’ he wrote.

Prosecutors introduced evidence that Ethan Crumbley texted his mother in spring 2021 about ‘demons’ throwing bowls and other hallucinations. 

But she told the jury it was ‘just Ethan messing around’.

‘I have asked myself if I would have done anything differently. I wouldn’t have. I wish he would have killed us instead,’ she testified.

The jury forewoman (pictured) told DailyMail.com that the damning evidence that sealed Jennifer Crumbley's conviction was that 'she was the last adult with the gun'

The jury forewoman (pictured) told DailyMail.com that the damning evidence that sealed Jennifer Crumbley’s conviction was that ‘she was the last adult with the gun’

Jurors at the involuntary manslaughter trial of Jennifer Crumbley were shown disturbing drawings by mass shooter son Ethan hours before he opened fire at Oxford High school, killing four

Jurors at the involuntary manslaughter trial of Jennifer Crumbley were shown disturbing drawings by mass shooter son Ethan hours before he opened fire at Oxford High school, killing four

The jury of six men and six women included people who own guns or grew up with them in their home.

Jennifer Crumbley will get credit for roughly two-and-a-half years in the county jail when she returns to court for sentencing on April 9. 

The judge will set the minimum prison sentence, based on scoring guidelines and other factors.

It will be up to the Michigan parole board to determine how long she actually stays in prison. The maximum term for involuntary manslaughter is 15 years.

Prosecutors have not said if they will ask for consecutive sentences on the four convictions, which could mean a maximum of 60 years if Judge Cheryl Matthews agrees.

MichiganMass Shootings

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