- Jennifer Crumbley, who is facing involuntary manslaughter charges, testified that it was her husband’s responsibility to store their son’s gun
- Crumbley, whose then 15-year-old son shot dead four of his high school classmates, is facing claims of neglecting his pleas for mental health support
- The trial of Jennifer Crumbley revealed several never-before-seen images of her school shooter son in court on Thursday,
- The Michigan court also saw new images that showed another side to the mass shooter on Thursday
A Michigan mom on trial over her 15 year-old son’s school gun massacre has blamed the husband she cheated on for failing to lock up his guns.
Jennifer Crumbley, who is facing up to 60 years in jail on involuntary manslaughter charges after her son Ethan killed four at Oxford High School in November 2021, testified that it was her husband James’ responsibility to store their son’s gun.
Asked ‘Who was responsible for storing the gun?’ Crumbley said ‘My husband is.’
She told jurors Thursday that gun safety and maintenance was ‘more his [James’] thing, so I let him handle that. I didn’t feel comfortable putting the lock thing on it.’
The mother, who is facing claims of neglecting her son Ethan’s pleas for mental health support, told the court her husband and son bought the 9 mm gun used in the rampage on Black Friday while she was out shopping.
The trial previously exposed Jennifer’s extramarital affair with local fire captain Brian Meloche, undermining her claims they were a ‘close’ family unit.
The Michigan court was also shown several never-before-seen images of the school shooter on Thursday, revealing another side to the killer.
Jennifer Crumbley has sought to blame her husband James for their 15 year-old son’s school massacre by saying he should have locked up the family’s guns
In one of the images Ethan Crumbley is holding a pet and smiling tenderly towards the creature
In another Ethan is seen at home carving pumpkins at the kitchen table
Another image shown to the court shows the teen wearing a backpack and glasses
The pictures show Ethan in a normal domestic light, a sharp contrast to the killer in an orange jumpsuit who previously pled guilty and is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In one of the images the bespectacled teen is holding a fluffy pet and smiling tenderly towards the creature.
In another Ethan is seen at home carving pumpkins at the kitchen table.
Two further images show him stood with a red backpack on, and walking along a beach perhaps while on holiday.
Jennifer Crumbley also took to the stand on Thursday to counter claims she was a ‘negligent’ mother as she faces up to 60 years in prison.
Crumbley told the court, hearing the first case of a parent being charged over a school shooting, that she doesn’t believe she is a ‘failure as a parent’.
‘I don’t think I’m a failure as a parent’ Crumbley told the court.
‘But at the time, I guess I didn’t see, I felt bad that [Ethan] was sad at those things, and I guess, I just failed somewhere’ she told jurors.
The mother admitted that she would have done things differently if she could, adding ‘I wish he would have killed us instead.’
Crumbley stopped short of calling herself a victim when asked but said she has ‘lost a lot… we lost everything.’
Prosecutors alleged that Jennifer and her husband James – who is set to stand trial in March – callously brushed off Ethan’s pleas for mental health support, claiming she laughed at him, and James told him to ‘suck it up.’
In one text exchange shown to the court, Ethan texted his mother over his paranoid belief he was being haunted by a ghost. When she didn’t respond, he said: ‘Can you at least text back…’
Another image displayed in court shows Ethan walking along a beach, perhaps while on holiday
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
On Wednesday, Jennifer’s extramarital affair with fire captain Brian Meloche was exposed
Meloche testified that the affair led to some ‘difficult conversations’ with his wife, but he denied ever switching his story or feeling pressured by police to incriminate his lover
In one diary entry shown on Thursday, Ethan wrote: ‘I have zero help for my mental problems and it’s causing me to shoot up the f****** school’
Crumbley denied ever believing her son was dangerous, and claimed her son’s text messages were often sarcastic as he would ‘fool around.’
The court also heard Ethan’s final disturbing diary entries which appeared to oppose her statements they were ‘close’.
Ethan wrote that ‘my parents won’t listen to me about help or therapist,’ and ‘I have zero help for my mental problems and it’s causing me to shoot up the f****** school.’
Crumbley’s claims they were a ‘close’ family came just a day after, as prosecutors argued she was focused on her tryst with a fire captain over her disturbed son.
Much of Crumbley’s opening testimony centered on her family relationship, as prosecutors allege that Ethan’s cries for help were ignored by his parents, and claimed they mocked his cries for help.
‘My mum laughed when I told her,’ Ethan texted to a friend in March 2021, around seven months before the shooting, adding that he would have called 911 about voices in his head but he didn’t want to anger his parents.
Jennifer denied ever laughing at her son’s struggles, and said he never once brought up hearing voices. However, she admitted he lived a lonely lifestyle without many friends, developed at least 13 cavities as he barely brushed his teeth, and spent most of his time in a squalid bedroom.
‘There was a couple of times where Ethan had expressed anxiety over taking tests, anxiety about what he was going to do after high school whether it was college, military — so he expressed those concerns to me, but not to a level where I felt he needed to go see a psychiatrist or a mental health professional,’ she said.
‘I want help but my parents don’t listen to me so I can’t get any help’, read another entry
Before her testimony, Jennifer Crumbley broke down in tears as her son’s disturbing diary entries were read to the court on Thursday, in which he claimed his parents ignored his pleas for help
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 issue of Ethan’s school life came under scrutiny because on the day of the school shooting, he was caught by a teacher drawing disturbing images of murders and shootings on his homework.
Despite writing ‘the thoughts won’t stop, help me’, both of his parents declined to take him home and left him at the school, where he had a 9mm handgun secretly stashed in his backpack.
As her testimony turned to the day of the shooting, she said she had a feeling something was wrong with her son because he texted her ‘I love you’, right after the meeting that morning, which she found to be ‘abnormal.’
After realizing the gun and bullets were gone from her home amid reports of a school shooter, Crumbley said she feared that her son was involved – but admitted her main fear was that he would commit suicide.
She texted him ‘Ethan, don’t do it’, but said she wasn’t referencing the shooting, but rather that she didn’t want him to turn the gun on himself.
‘I didn’t believe that he even shot anybody, just that there was gunfire,’ she added.
Police say Crumbley’s first victim was freshman Phoebe Arthur (pictured), who was shot in the face but miraculously survived. A total of 13 people were shot, four of whom died
Madisyn Baldwin, 17, (left) and Hana St Juliana, 14, (right) died in the 2021 shooting rampage at Oxford High School in suburban Detroit
Justin Shilling, 17, (left) and Tate Myre, 16, (right) were also killed in the senseless shooting
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
At the time of the shooting, Jennifer claimed she was too busy at work to take him home, however questions were raised over whether she had been carrying out an affair with a local fire captain instead – a revelation that only came to light on Wednesday.
The fire captain, Brian Meloche, testified Wednesday that Crumbley told him she could sneak off from work that morning to meet up with him.
He added that the two of them would typically carry out their secret tryst on the mornings of workdays in a parking lot across from her job – although Crumbley testified that they would only meet once a week maximum.
She added in her testimony that the fire captain had met her son a couple of times, after he previously told cops he had never encountered the school shooter.
As scrutiny fell on Jennifer’s actions in the aftermath of the shooting, it was revealed Thursday that she and her husband had emptied their son’s bank account immediately after, withdrawing $3,000 and leaving just 99 cents inside.
In the days following the shooting, the couple appeared to try and flee as police sought them for questioning, and withdrew another $6,000 from two other accounts, according to testimony from Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Timothy Willis.
The couple stayed at several hotels and bought new phones, after theirs had been seized by investigators, before eventually hiding out in an art studio in Detroit.
Jennifer’s attorney argued she was not trying to escape custody, but was fearing for her life after threats were allegedly made following her son’s crime.