School shooter Ethan Crumbley’s parents sentenced 10-15 years for role in Michigan mass killing

James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of Ethan Crumbley, who killed four students and shot seven others at Oxford High School in Michigan in 2021, were sentenced to 10-15 years in prison.

In separate trials, the Crumbleys were charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. Each charge of involuntary manslaughter faces a punishment of up to 15 years in prison. 

The conviction of the Crumbleys is the first time parents have been charged for a mass shooting carried out by their child. Legal experts say the ruling may set a new legal precedent about holding parents accountable for the actions of their children. Presiding Judge Cherly Matthews said the Crumbleys’ conviction should act as a deterrent in preventing future mass shootings. 

“Opportunity knocked over and over again, louder and louder, and was ignored. No one answered and these two people should have and sure didn’t,” Matthews said. “These convictions confirm repeated acts or lack of acts that could have halted an oncoming runaway train.”

Prosecutors argued the Crumbleys ignored warning signs displayed by then-15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, who was sentenced in 2022 to life without parole. 

The Crumbleys purchased for their son a Sig Sauer 9 mm handgun as an early Christmas present, and prosecutors proved the gun was not locked up properly. 

On the morning of the mass shooting on Nov. 30, 2021, the Crumbleys met with the school’s guidance counselor to discuss the troubling behavior of their son. They were shown drawings Ethan Crumbley made of a pistol next to a figure with bullet wounds and phrases like “blood everywhere” and “help me, the thoughts won’t stop.” The Crumbleys didn’t share with the counselors they had purchased a gun for him. 

During the trial, Jennifer Crumbley said she asked herself if she “would’ve done anything differently” and said she wouldn’t have.

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Prosecutors also pointed to the threats made by James Crumbley to Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald.

The Crumbleys have been in prison for the last two years while awaiting sentencing. They will receive credit for the 858 days they’ve already served.

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