4/10/24 - James & Jennifer Crumbley Receive Sentence

James and Jennifer Crumbley - (file image: NBC news )

An Oakland County judge sentences the parents of Ethan Crumbley, to 10 to 15 years in prison.

(OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich.) - James and Jennifer Crumbley are the first parents to ever be charged, then convicted, in their child’s shooting at a U.S. school.

Both were sentenced to 10 to 15 years in prison.

The parents faced the victims during sentencing yesterday by Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Matthews.  It was the first time they appeared together since they attended joint hearings.   Both parents were found guilty on four counts of involuntary manslaughter. 

Their son, Ethan, now 17, pleaded guilty as an adult to the Oxford High School shooting in 2021 and is serving life in prison.

Matthews told the Crumbleys that the convictions reached by jurors were "not about poor parenting," but how they repeatedly ignored warning signs that a "reasonable person" would have seen.  "These convictions confirm repeated acts that could have halted an oncoming runaway train," she said.

The couple will get credit for time served in an Oakland County jail since their arrests in the wake of the Nov. 30, 2021, shooting.

 

 

Before she was sentenced, Jennifer Crumbley told the court that while she felt "deep remorse, regret and grief" about the shooting, she also deflected some of the blame onto school officials and took offense as the prosecution portrayed her as a neglectful mother.  "We were good parents," Crumbley said. "We were the average family. We weren't perfect, but we loved our son and each other tremendously."

James Crumbley also addressed the court, explaining to the judge that he did not know beforehand about his son's planned attack on his school, and telling the victims' families directly that he would have acted differently on the day of the shooting. "Please note that I am truly sorry for your loss as a result of what my son did," he said. "I cannot express how much I wish I had known what was going on with him or what was going to happen."

 

A day after Thanksgiving, prosecutors said, James Crumbley bought their son the handgun, while Jennifer Crumbley took him to a gun range that weekend.  On Tuesday, a teacher said she had found a note on Ethan's desk with a drawing of a gun and a person who had been shot, along with messages including: "The thoughts won't stop. Help me."   That discovery prompted the school to summon the parents for a meeting, but school officials testified that they declined to bring him home because they had to go back to work.

The officials also said that if the parents had informed them that their son had access to a gun, they would have been more authoritative to ensure immediate safety.

Oakland County prosecutors have said they do not plan to charge anyone else in connection with the shootings. 

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