The facts took place on November 30, 2021 at Oxford High School in Michigan. Young perpetrator Ethan Crumbley was sentenced to life imprisonment last year, but Ethan’s parents were also arrested for his crime. Father James must appear in court at the beginning of March, but last week it was the turn of 45-year-old mother Jennifer.
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Prosecutors Karen McDonald and Marc Keast accused her of “gross negligence” and were eventually proven right by a jury of twelve: they found Jennifer guilty of involuntary manslaughter because she allegedly ignored some very clear alarm signals, which prevented her son from being stopped in his tracks. killing spree.
In particular, Ethan’s easy access to the murder weapon proved his mother’s guilt, according to the jurors. The weapon used to carry out the shooting is said to have been a gift from the parents to their son. Three days before the facts, Jennifer had posted a photo on social media from the shooting range: “Mother and son testing his new Christmas present.”
Jennifer stated that she had not stored the gun safely after the outing at the shooting range, but had left it in the trunk of the car where the spare tire is normally located. “I just didn’t feel comfortable putting the security on,” the mother testified. “That was my husband’s thing, so I left it until he got home.”
In addition, according to prosecutors, it was impossible that Jennifer was unaware of the mental problems her son was experiencing. In the spring of 2021, Ethan sent his mother a number of messages stating that he had spotted a ghost or devil in the house. He asked her for help, but got no answer. Investigators were also able to find a text message from Ethan to one of his friends: the boy wrote that he had told his parents about his hallucinations, but that his mother had started laughing at him.
Jennifer tried to defend herself in court by saying that the text messages about a ghost were part of a long-standing joke in the family: that their house was haunted. According to her, the message to the friend was false. “I thought we got along really well,” Jennifer said. “I trusted him and felt like he knew he could come to me if something was wrong.”
However, the accusations of negligence went even further. The morning of the incident, a teacher at the school had found a drawing of Ethan showing a gun and a bleeding corpse, along with the text “the thoughts don’t stop, help me”, “blood everywhere” and “my life is pointless”. The Crumbleys were then called to school and asked to take their son home for psychological care, but the parents refused because they did not want to miss work. They also did not inform the school about the weapon or his previous hallucinations, so it was deemed safe enough to keep him at school.
For the prosecutors, the conclusion was clear: “Jennifer was more concerned with her horses and her extramarital relationship than with her son.” The sentence, which can amount to 15 years in prison, will be determined on April 9.