Should Jennifer Crumbley, Mother of Oxford School Shooter, Ethan Crumbley, Be Found Guilty For Being a “Neglectful Mother”? You Decide–The Verdict Comes Back Today

As the parents of alleged Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley stand trial, prosecutors argue Jennifer and James Crumbley were criminally negligent in their son's path to violence while the defense claims his actions were impossible to foresee.

Should Jennifer Crumbley, Mother of Oxford School Shooter, Ethan Crumbley, Be Found Guilty For Being a “Neglectful Mother”? You Decide–The Verdict Comes Back Today

The Neglectful Mother of the Oxford High School Shooter

Jennifer Crumbley sobbed as surveillance footage of one of the deadliest high school shootings in American history played in the courtroom. The video showed her 15-year-old son, Ethan, mercilessly gunning down his classmates at Oxford High School in Michigan. This tragedy claimed the lives of four students and injured several more on that fateful November 2021 day.

Clockwise from top left, Hana St. Juliana, Justin Shilling, Madisyn Baldwin and Tate Myre were killed in the shooting in November 2021. Obtained by CNN

The Involuntary Manslaughter Charges

Jennifer now stands trial for her alleged role in enabling this massacre. Prosecutors have charged her with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, arguing that her neglect directly led to the deaths. As a mother, she failed to address glaring red flags about Ethan's mental state and easy access to firearms.

Over the past week, the prosecution has methodically laid out a timeline of negligence peppered with disturbing details about the Crumbley family dynamics.

Jennifer Crumbley with son Ethan

Crumbley Ignored Son's Texts About Demons While Riding Horse, Prosecution Says

The prosecutors brought forth evidence showing Jennifer Crumbley riding horses at the very same time her son Ethan was texting her about seeing demons in their house.

"Can you at least text back?" Ethan allegedly wrote to his mother in the texts presented. However, Crumbley did not respond, according to the message thread.

About an hour and a half later, Crumbley called Ethan for 19 seconds. The lack of engagement with her clearly troubled son is being used by the prosecution to paint a picture of a neglectful mother more interested in her equestrian hobby than her child's disturbing pleas for help.

School Shooting Video Reduces Crumbley, Others to Tears

Perhaps the most emotional evidence shown was the school surveillance footage depicting Ethan Crumbley carrying out the tragic mass shooting itself.

As the video played for the courtroom, Jennifer Crumbley broke down sobbing and put her head in her hands. Even the lead detective investigating the shooting was brought to tears on the witness stand trying to explain the horrifying events.

The dramatic display suggests that despite her possible failures as a parent, witnessing the end results of her son's violent actions continues to torment Crumbley.

Crumbley's Affair Partner: She Never Mentioned Mental Health Issues

Brian Meloche, the man Crumbley was having an affair with, took the stand to testify that in the months and days leading up to the shooting, she never once complained to him about any mental health issues affecting her son.

This revelation from someone who presumably knew intimate details of Crumbley's private life suggests that she was either unaware or in denial about the deterioration of her son's state of mind.

The defense argues this supports their stance that while negligent in some parenting duties, Crumbley did not comprehend how severe the threat truly was.

Mother constantly ignored son’s cries for help

Ethan's personal journals, presented on Thursday, painted a portrait of a deeply troubled teen spiraling into violence. "My parents won't listen to me about help or a therapist," he wrote, alongside entries about shooting up his school and plans to acquire a 9mm pistol. His parents would help their underaged son illegally purchase that same gun just days before the tragedy.

Ethan’s drawing hours before shooting.

Jennifer Crumbley obsessed with horses as son spiraled

Meanwhile, Jennifer appeared distracted by her passion for horseback riding, often prioritizing her equine hobby over family obligations. On the very day Ethan illustrated a drawing of a handgun and bullet during class, Jennifer dismissed urgent meetings with school counselors to schedule an upcoming horse lesson. Surveillance footage captured Jennifer and her husband, James, quickly exiting the counselor's office after a short 15-minute discussion about their son's behavior. They declined recommendations to take Ethan home for the day.

March 9, 2021

Ethan to Jennifer:

Ethan, 7:50 p.m.: "Can you get home now?"
Ethan: "There’s someone in the house I think"
Ethan.: "Someone walked into the bathroom and flushed the toilet and left the light on"
Ethan: "And I thought it was you but when I came out there was no one home"
Ethan: "There's no one in the house tho"
Ethan: "Dude my door just slammed"
Ethan, 8:01 p.m.: "Maybe it’s just my paranoia"
Ethan: "But when are you going to get home"

Jennifer did not respond to Ethan on March 9. Det. Edward Wagrowski, who has 25 years with the Oakland County Sheriff's Office and seven years with the computer crimes unit, said photos showed that she was horseback riding at the time.

March 10, 2021

Jennifer to Ethan:

Jennifer, 10:21 a.m.: "Where's your dad???"
Ethan: "Doing work"

March 17, 2021 

Ethan to Jennifer:

Ethan, 6:03 p.m.: "Ok the house is now haunted"
Ethan: "Some wierd s*** just happens and now I’m scared"
Ethan: "I got some videos"
Ethan: "And a picture of the demon"
Ethan: "It is throwing BOWLS"
Ethan: "I am not joking it f***** up the kitchen"
Ethan: "I’m just going to be outsider for a while"
Ethan, 6:29 p.m.: "Can you at least text back"

Jennifer did not respond. Wagrowski said she was again horseback riding.

She would not text Ethan again until the afternoon of March 19, 2021. However, she did text Ethan's father James Crumbley to discuss his behavior.

March 19, 2021

Jennifer to James:

Jennifer, 9:37 a.m.: You awake?
Jennifer: "Ethan awake?"
James, 9:38 a.m.: "Um yeah"
Jennifer: "How is he?"
James: "He woke up looking like he had WAY too much to drink last night complaining about a headache"
Jennifer, 9:41 a.m.: "Well he was really worked up and out of control so I can see why."
Jennifer: "All I know is he needs to eat, go to work, and work hard, not complain and he can get his stuff back"
Jennifer: "You respond? I didn't get it?"
James: "Jesus yes"
James, 10:17 a.m.: "He said let me ask you a question. Why am I in your guys' room lol"
Jennifer: "OMG"
James: "I totally thought you were giving him a Xanax last night"
Jennifer: "Does he seem better? No melatonin"
James: "I know"
Jennifer: "But he hasn't had one before. Should only give him half"
James: "He is just doing his school. Says his head hurts. He took so Tylenol"
Jennifer: "Is he ok to work?"
James: "Yeah"
Jennifer: "Does he remember what he did?"
James: "Dude I am working. On a demo right now. I have not talked to him and he is doing school"

Jennifer to Ethan:

Jennifer, 4:11 p.m.: "Where's your dad?"
Jennifer, 7:48 p.m.: "Text me when your done"
Jennifer, 9:02 p.m.: "Done yet?"

March 20, 2021

Ethan to Jennifer:

Ethan: 2:33 p.m.: "I finished picking up the room"
Ethan: "I cleaned until the clothes started flying off the shelf
Ethan: "This stuff only happens when I’m home alone
Ethan: "I picked the clothes back up tho"

In addition to the messages exchanged in March, texts from the day before the Oxford High School shooting were read in court. Some of those texts have previously been revealed, while others were new.

Jennifer had texted Ethan after receiving a call that he was caught looking up bullets on his phone while at school.

Nov. 29, 2021

Jennifer to Ethan:

Jennifer, 11:53 a.m.: "Seriously?? Looking up bullets in school?"
Ethan, 11:54 a.m.: "What?"
Ethan: "Oh yeah. I already went to the office for that."
Ethan: "It was in first hour all I did was look up a certain caliber at the end of class because I was curious."
Ethan: "It was on my phone."
Ethan: "completely harmless"
Ethan: "teachers just have no privacy"
Ethan: "They said I'm all good"
Ethan: "I understand why I they talked to me and they said they that is am good."
Ethan: "This is nothing I should get in trouble about"
Jennifer, 12:13 p.m.: "You're not they left me a voicemail" (Included emojis of a woman covering her face)
Jennifer: "Did you at least show them a pic of your new gun?"
Ethan: "NO I didn't show them the pic my god"
Ethan: "I only told them I went to the range with you on Saturday"
Ethan: "It was a harmless act"
Ethan: "I have this bullet cartridge in my room that I didn't what kind of bullet it was and it said it was a 22 so at the end of first hour I just looked up different types of 22 bullets and I guess the teachers can't get their eyes of my screen smh"
Jennifer, 12:30 p.m.: "lol I'm.not mad. you have to learn not.to.get caught"
Ethan: "IK lol"
Ethan: laughing emojis
Ethan: "I just didn't want something this little tog et me in trouble because....well I didn't get to get in trouble lol"
Ethan: "I want to hear the voicemail when I get home tho"
Ethan: "Also I never tried to hide looking up the bullet. I just didn't think a teacher would be staring at my phone"
Jennifer: "Ok I saved it"

Hours later, the troubled teen carried out his murderous scheme on school grounds.

The mother’s defense

The defense team argues Jennifer cared deeply for her son but simply failed to comprehend the gravity of his declining mental health. They shifted blame toward James Crumbley and the school system for not intervening more aggressively.

Nonetheless, a mountain of heartbreaking evidence stacks the odds against this sympathetic perspective. Jennifer's apparent pattern of neglect will linger heavy over the remainder of the involuntary manslaughter trial. The jury must decide whether her inaction crosses the legal lines into criminal culpability for one of the worst instances of school violence in recent memory.

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