The Michigan Supreme Court has denied an appeal and cleared the way for the Oxford High School shooter’s parents to stand trial for involuntary manslaughter.
James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of Ethan Crumbley, have been charged with involuntary manslaughter for allowing him access to a gun and ignoring his mental health problems.
Ethan Crumbley shot and killed students Madisyn Baldwin, 17, Tate Myre, 16, Hana St. Juliana, 14, and Justin Shilling, 17, at his high school in 2021 when he was 15 years old. Six other students and a teacher were also injured. He has pleaded guilty to 24 charges, including terrorism and murder. He is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole. He is scheduled to be sentenced on December 8.
Rumors had been circulating that there would be a mass shooting at the school, which led to some students staying home from school that day. The school had been investigating the rumors, but determined that there was “no credible threat.”
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard had said that his office was not aware of the rumors prior to the shooting.
A search warrant executed at the Crumbley home found a cell phone with videos filmed the night before the shooting in which Ethan discussed his plans. Authorities also found a journal in which he wrote about his desire to “shoot up the school.”
School officials met with Ethan the day before and the day of the shooting to discuss his behavior after a teacher noticed him using his phone to search for ammunition.
During a press conference before charging the parents, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said, “[The day before the shooting] a teacher at the Oxford High School observed Ethan Crumbley searching ammunition on his cellphone during class and reported the same to school officials. Jennifer Crumbley was contacted via voice mail by school personnel regarding that son’s inappropriate internet search. School personnel indicate they followed that voice mail up with an email but received no response from either parent. Thereafter, Jennifer Crumbley exchanged text messages about the incident with her son on that day, saying: ‘LOL I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.'”
“On Nov. 30, 2021, the morning of the shooting the next day, Ethan Crumbley’s teacher came upon a note on Ethan’s desk which alarmed her to the point that she took a picture of it on her cellphone,” McDonald continued. “The note contained the following: a drawing of a semiautomatic handgun, pointing at the words: ‘The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.’ In another section of the note was a drawing of a bullet, with the following words above that bullet: ‘Blood everywhere.’ Between the drawing of the gun and the bullet is a drawing of a person who appears to have been shot twice and bleeding. Below that figure is a drawing of a laughing emoji. Further down the drawing are the words, ‘My life is useless.’ And to the right of that are the words, ‘The world is dead.'”
Ethan’s parents were called to a meeting about the drawings on the day of the shooting but resisted taking their son home from school that day. They also failed to check his backpack for the weapon.
When news broke later that day that a shooting was underway at the school, Jennifer Crumbley texted to her son at 1:22 p.m., “Ethan, don’t do it.”