UNITED STATES NEWS

Prosecutor uses texts to try to show mom of school shooter cared more about horses than son

Jan 26, 2024, 11:23 AM

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — Prosecutors on Friday sought to portray the mother of a Michigan school shooter as an aloof parent more interested in horses than the mental health of her teenage son who was apparently having hallucinations months before killing four students.

Jennifer Crumbley, 45, is on trial for involuntary manslaughter, the first time parents have been charged in a U.S. mass school shooting. She and her husband are accused of contributing to the deaths at Oxford High School by neglecting their son’s needs and making a gun accessible at home.

Evidence shows Jennifer Crumbley and her husband James were riding horses and didn’t respond when Ethan Crumbley sent her text messages on March 17, 2021, saying their house was haunted.

She had told her husband earlier that day that she wanted to “get drunk and ride my horse,” according to a message displayed to the jury.

Ethan Crumbley said he was scared because “demons” were “throwing bowls.”

“Can you text back?” he asked his mother.

Three days later, when his parents again were riding horses, Ethan Crumbley messaged: “Clothes started flying off the shelf. This stuff only happens when I’m home alone.”

The prosecutor’s computer crimes expert, Ed Wagrowski, testified that the hallucinations “could have been warnings” to the parents.

During cross-examination, defense attorney Shannon Smith said there could be reasons why Jennifer Crumbley didn’t reply or even see the messages in a timely manner. She mentioned weak wireless service in the area or a belief that Ethan Crumbley was joking.

Wagrowski acknowledged some of those points.

“I don’t know what she’s thinking, no,” he said.

In April 2021, seven months before the school attack, Ethan Crumbley told a friend that he was “mentally and physically dying.” He said he asked his father to take him to a doctor but was told to “suck it up.”

Prosecutors sought to contrast the alleged neglect of her son with more detailed messages by Jennifer Crumbley about the treatment her horse, Billy, needed for a bad leg.

“Make sure you get in between the heel bulbs,” she directed.

That was a day before the school shooting. At the same time, the school was leaving a voicemail to tell her that Ethan Crumbley had been searching for ammunition on his phone, but he wasn’t in trouble. The message was played in court.

The 17-year-old was sentenced to life in prison in December after he pleaded guilty to murder, terrorism and other crimes. Ethan Crumbley was 15 at the time of the shooting.

James Crumbley faces trial on involuntary manslaughter charges in March.

Smith told jurors Thursday that the mother was “hypervigilant” about her son and shouldn’t be blamed for the deaths. Jennifer Crumbley is expected to testify in the days ahead.

Smith wants to challenge some evidence by having Ethan Crumbley or his doctors speak to the jury. But his lawyers have said he would invoke his right to remain silent and also would not waive a right to privacy with psychiatrists.

___

Follow Ed White at https://twitter.com/edwritez

United States News

Associated Press

580,000 glass coffee mugs recalled because they can break when filled with hot liquid

NEW YORK (AP) — Some 580,000 glass coffee mugs are being recalled across the U.S. after dozens of burn and laceration injuries were reported by consumers. According to a Thursday notice from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the now-recalled JoyJolt-branded “Declan Single Wall Glass Coffee Mugs” can crack or break when filled with hot […]

9 minutes ago

Associated Press

So long plastic air pillows: Amazon shifting to recycled paper filling for packages in North America

Amazon is shifting from the plastic air pillows used for packaging in North America to recycled paper because it’s more environmentally sound, and it says paper just works better. The company said Thursday that it’s already replaced 95% of the plastic air pillows with paper filler in North America and is working toward complete removal […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Several people shot at Oakland Juneteenth celebration, police say

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A Juneteenth celebration in Oakland, California, turned violent when several people were shot, police said. The Lake Merritt event on Wednesday night was largely peaceful, with as many as 5,000 in attendance, until a sideshow involving “motorbikes and vehicles” took place around 8:15 p.m. on the north side of the lake, […]

6 hours ago

Palestinians displaced by the Israeli air and ground offensive on the Gaza Strip walk through a mak...

Associated Press

Rifts seem to appear between Israel’s political and military leadership over conduct of the Gaza war

In a rare public rift between the country’s leadership, an Israeli army spokesman appeared to question the goal of destroying Hamas.

14 hours ago

Associated Press

Probe finds carelessness caused Jewish student group’s omission from New Jersey high school yearbook

An investigation into how and why a Jewish student group was erased from a New Jersey high school yearbook found the omission was caused by negligence and carelessness, but was not done on purpose or out of malice, the school district announced Wednesday. East Brunswick Public Schools hired a law firm to investigate after the […]

15 hours ago

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday, June 18, 2024, that he wants to restrict students' ...

Associated Press

California governor wants to restrict smartphone usage in schools

Gavin Newsom announced he wants to restrict students' usage of phones during the school day, citing the mental health risks of social media.

15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

Prosecutor uses texts to try to show mom of school shooter cared more about horses than son