Jennifer and James Crumbley, parents of Michigan school shooter, sentenced to 10 to 15 years for involuntary manslaughter

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By journalsofus.com


Jennifer and James Crumbley, the parents of Oxford High School mass shooter Ethan Crumbley, were sentenced Tuesday to 10 to 15 years after each was pleaded guilty of four counts of involuntary manslaughter in separate trials at the beginning of this year.

“I can and will offer my deepest condolences for your unfathomable losses,” Judge Cheryl Matthews said during sentencing.

Matthews said each action or inaction created a domino effect and said he believes the sentences are “in the best interests of justice and are reasonable and proportionate.”

“Parents are not expected to be psychic, but these convictions have nothing to do with poor parenting. These convictions confirm repeated acts, or lack of acts, that could have stopped an oncoming runaway train: repeatedly ignoring things that would make a reasonable person feel the hair on the back of their neck,” Matthews said.

“The guidelines in this way do not capture the catastrophic impact of the acts or the action. And in these matters, the guidelines do not take into account the complete lack of knowledge that both defendants have about their behavior to this day” , Matthews said.

The parents have already served 858 days in jail awaiting trial, which will be deducted from their sentence. They have also been ordered not to have contact with the victims’ families.

Giving a statement in court Tuesday, Jennifer Crumbley attempted to recant her testimony during the trial when she said she wouldn’t have done anything differently.

James Crumbley, who wiped away tears at several points in his statement, asked to be sentenced “fairly and equitably,” asking for time served.

“You know that what my son did I didn’t know,” he said.

The trials were a rare case of parents facing criminal charges, and possible jail time, for their role in a shooting carried out by their son. They could have faced up to 15 years in prison on each count, but prosecutors asked for 10 to 15 years total for each parent, according to a sentencing memorandum filed by prosecutors last week.

“No sentence this Court can administer will repair the harm caused by the Oxford High School shooting on November 30, 2021,” prosecutors wrote in requesting the sentence for Jennifer Crumbley. “As the jury determined, the defendant’s gross negligence was the cause of this harm; she knew of the danger to another person, it was reasonably foreseeable that her son would shoot someone, but she failed to exercise even the slightest measure of ordinary care.”

Michigan sentencing guidelines call for a maximum sentence of about seven years in prison, a sentence prosecutors said was not harsh enough.

“Considering the guidelines, what those guidelines take into account and what they do not, and the objectives of sentencing, the seriousness of the circumstances in this case and the defendant’s complete lack of remorse justify a sentence that exceeds the guidelines range applicable,” prosecutors continued. “The prison sentence of 10 to 15 years is proportional to these crimes and the offender.”

Exactly the same request was sent regarding James Crumbley.

Jennifer Crumbley’s attorneys had asked that she be sentenced to time served and house arrest, according to the defense’s sentencing memo. James Crumbley’s attorneys asked for 28 months in prison (the amount of time he has already spent locked up) with credit for time served and the maximum period of supervised release.

Prosecutors were especially harsh on James Crumbley in asking for a sentence longer than sentencing guidelines, pointing to threats he made over the phone from jail toward District Attorney Karen McDonald and an instance of giving the middle finger toward a prosecutor during the trial. .

“The defendant’s blatant lack of remorse in asking for time served as an appropriate sentence is a slap in the face to the severity of the tragedy caused by his gross negligence, to the victims and their families, and to the applicable law which is based on the concept of a proportionate sentence,” prosecutors wrote.

James Crumbley also apologized to the victims during his statement in court Tuesday.

“I really want the families of Madisyn Baldwin, Hana St. Juliana, Tate Myre and Justin Shilling to know how sorry I am and how devastated I was when I heard what happened to them. I have cried for you and for the loss of your children. more times than I can count,” James Crumbley said Tuesday.

“I can’t express how much I wish I had known what was going on with him or what was going to happen, because I absolutely would have done a lot of things differently,” James Crumbley said.

The judge will make a decision in the coming weeks on whether to impose a no-contact order on the Crumleys and their son. James Crumbley and his son will not be housed in the same facility at any time, according to Matthews.

James Crumbley said he hasn’t spoken to his son since the shooting or his wife since they were arrested Dec. 3.

Ethan Crumbley, who was only 15 years old at the time of the shooting, has been he is sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for the shooting that killed four students.

He pleaded guilty to 24 chargesincluding first-degree premeditated murder and terrorism resulting in death in 2021.

The parents had ignored several warning signs in the days before the shooting and had just bought their son the gun he used in the shooting, according to prosecutors. Prosecutors argued that the parents failed to secure the gun and limited their son’s access to it.

Prosecutors argued that James Crumbley did not use a cable lock, a trigger lock or store the gun in a locked safe, any of which could have prevented the shooting. Prosecutor Karen McDonald even demonstrated installing a cable lock for the jury during closing arguments, saying it takes “less than 10 seconds.”

Oxford High School officials had called parents to the school the morning of the shooting after disturbing drawings were found on their son’s math test and he had made statements to a counselor suggesting he was considering suicide, prosecutors said. .

School officials testified that the parents said they needed to return to work and could not stay home with their son, and that if he left, he would have to walk home and stay alone until they finished work. School officials, concerned about Ethan Crumbley, allowed him to remain at school.

The shooting occurred that afternoon.

In a back-and-forth between Matthews and Jennifer Crumbley’s attorney, Shannon Smith, on Tuesday, the judge rejected the defense’s argument that Jennifer Crumbley knew nothing about the gun and was not responsible for securing it. The judge pointed to text messages she sent to her husband about the gun and how much it cost, and that she posted a photo of the gun as a Christmas gift from her son.

Jennifer Crumbley’s trial focused largely on how she spent her time in the weeks and months before the shooting, implying that she failed to act on warning signs or seek help for her son. Her former employer testified on the stand that she could have left work the day of the shooting – after her meeting with school officials – to care for her son or said she could have brought her son. from her with her to work if necessary.

A man she was having an affair In the months before the shooting he also testified, and prosecutors questioned him about how they spent their time and about their communications before and after the shooting.

Jennifer Crumbley too took the stand in his own defenseand was questioned by prosecutors about his extramarital affairs and his relationship with his son.

ABC News’ Whitney Lloyd contributed to this report.

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