UNITED STATES NEWS

No verdict after first day of deliberations in trial of Michigan school shooter’s mom

Feb 4, 2024, 10:03 PM

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan jury went home Monday after a full day of deliberations in a novel trial against a school shooter’s mother who could go to prison if convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the deaths of four students in 2021.

The jury will return Tuesday for a second day.

Prosecutors say Jennifer Crumbley had a duty under Michigan law to prevent her son from harming others. She’s accused of making a gun and ammunition accessible at home and failing to get help for Ethan Crumbley’s mental health.

Jennifer Crumbley didn’t disclose to Oxford High School that the family had a new 9 mm handgun that Ethan Crumbley had used with her at a shooting range just a few days before the attack, according to evidence.

About four hours into deliberations Monday, the jury sent a note to the judge asking if it could “infer anything” from prosecutors not presenting Ethan Crumbley or others to explain specifically how he got the gun from home.

“The answer is no. You’re only allowed to consider the evidence that was admitted in the case,” Oakland County Judge Cheryl Matthews said.

On Nov. 30, 2021, school staff was concerned about a violent drawing of a gun, bullet and wounded man, accompanied by desperate phrases, on Ethan Crumbley’s math assignment. But he was allowed to stay in school, following a roughly 12-minute meeting with the parents, who didn’t take him home.

The teenager pulled the gun from his backpack in the afternoon and shot 10 students and a teacher, killing four peers. No one had checked the backpack.

“He literally drew a picture of what he was going to do. It says, ‘Help me,’” prosecutor Karen McDonald said during closing arguments Friday in suburban Detroit.

Jennifer Crumbley knew the gun in the drawing was identical to the new one at home, McDonald said.

“She knew it wasn’t stored properly,” the prosecutor added. “She knew that he was proficient with the gun. She knew he had access to ammunition.”

“Just the smallest steps” could have saved the lives of Hana St. Juliana, Tate Myre, Justin Shilling and Madisyn Baldwin, the prosecutor said.

The shooter pleaded guilty to murder and terrorism and is serving a life sentence. His mother wanted to call him as a defense witness during the trial, but his lawyers said he would invoke his right to remain silent. Ethan Crumbley still might appeal his sentence.

During her closing argument last week, defense attorney Shannon Smith told jurors that a conviction would have a chilling effect on unwitting parents whose kids break the law. The tragedy, she argued, was not foreseeable.

Ethan Crumbley was a “skilled manipulator” who didn’t have mental illness, and the gun was the responsibility of James Crumbley, not his wife, Smith said.

“Unfortunately this is a case where the prosecution made a charging decision way too fast,” Smith said. “It was motivated by obvious reasons, for political gain and done for media attention.”

She said the case won’t bring justice to the victims or their families: “It certainly doesn’t bring back any lives.”

The jury of six men and six women includes some gun owners or people who grew up with firearms in their home.

Jennifer Crumbley, 45, and James Crumbley, 47, are the first parents in the U.S. to be charged in a mass school shooting committed by their child. James Crumbley faces trial in March.

In a journal found by police in his backpack, Ethan Crumbley, who was 15 at the time, wrote that they 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,” Ethan wrote.

The maximum penalty for involuntary manslaughter is 15 years in prison. The Crumbley parents have been in jail for more than two years, unable to post $500,000 bond while awaiting trial.

___

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

United States News

Associated Press

Rail bridge collapses during Midwest flooding as a heat wave persists across much of the US

Millions of Americans sweated through a scorching weekend as temperatures soared across the U.S., while residents were rescued from floodwaters that forced evacuations across the Midwest. One person died during flooding in South Dakota, the governor said. From the mid-Atlantic to Maine, across the Great Lakes region, and throughout the West to California, public officials […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

3 Columbia University administrators put on leave over alleged text exchange at antisemitism panel

NEW YORK (AP) — Columbia University said it has placed three administrators on leave while it investigates allegations that they exchanged unprofessional text messages while attending a panel discussion about antisemitism on campus. The university said the administrators work for its undergraduate Columbia College, which hosted the panel discussion “Jewish Life on Campus: Past, Present […]

14 hours ago

Associated Press

Man charged in shooting that critically wounded Philadelphia officer, police say

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A 36-year-old Philadelphia man was charged Sunday with attempted murder in connection with a shooting that critically wounded a police officer after a traffic stop, police said. Ramon Rodriguez Vazquez also faces charges that include aggravated assault and home invasion, police said. The 31-year-old officer and his partner stopped a car carrying […]

16 hours ago

Associated Press

California boy, 4, who disappeared from campground found safe after 22 hours alone in wilderness

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A 4-year-old California boy who wandered away from a campground in the Sierra National Forest was found safe after spending 22 hours alone in the wilderness, authorities said. A search-and-rescue team of about 50 officers and volunteers set out around 11 a.m. Thursday after the child was reported missing from the […]

17 hours ago

Associated Press

One man died and five others were hospitalized in downtown St. Louis shooting

ST. LOUIS (AP) — One man is dead and five others have been wounded in a downtown St. Louis shooting, police said. Police believe women were fighting in a park when men interfered and drew firearms, according to social media posts from the agency. The man who died was in his mid-twenties, police said. Five […]

17 hours ago

Associated Press

Michigan sheriff’s deputy fatally shot pursuing a stolen vehicle in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — A Michigan county sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot while pursing a suspected stolen vehicle in Detroit, the Oakland County sheriff’s office said Sunday. Bradley J. Reckling, who was on duty in an unmarked car, was following a 2022 Chevy Equinox Saturday evening after the vehicle was reported stolen earlier in the day […]

18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

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’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

No verdict after first day of deliberations in trial of Michigan school shooter’s mom