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Michigan school shooter’s mother to stand trial in students’ deaths


Jennifer Crumbley, whose son carried out the worst school shooting in Michigan’s history, is set to go on trial Tuesday, in a rare case that seeks to hold the parents responsible for their alleged role leading up to the 2021 incident.

James and Jennifer Crumbley face charges of involuntary manslaughter. Prosecutors accuse them of making a gun accessible to their son, Ethan Crumbley, and of ignoring his alleged mental health issues.

The shooter, who was 15 at the time, killed four students and injured seven others at Oxford High School in a suburb of Detroit on Nov. 30, 2021. He received multiple life sentences without parole in December, after pleading guilty to all charges.

The Crumbleys are the first parents to be charged in a mass school shooting in the United States, The Associated Press reported. The mother of a 6-year-old who shot and wounded his teacher last year was also recently sentenced to two years in prison for child neglect, per the AP.

Prosecutors claim the Crumbley parents ignored their son’s warning signs; defense attorneys say the shooting was not foreseeable and that the parents should not be held accountable.

Four days before the tragic event, James Crumbley bought his son a gun, and his mother took him to a shooting range to practice — posting a cheerful message about the outing on Instagram.

Prosecutors also point to some alleged missed warning signs. A day before the shooting, the school told Jennifer Crumbley that her son was looking at ammunition on his phone. Just hours before the shooting, the parents were called to the school after their son had drawn violent images with the message, “The thoughts wont stop. Help me.”

The parents were reportedly told to enroll their son in counseling, but they declined to take their son home from school that day. They reportedly left after 30 minutes.

At his sentencing in December, Ethan Crumbley took full responsibility and expressed remorse for his actions. He called himself a “really bad person” and said he could not help himself.

He also defended his parents’ accused role leading up to the shooting.

“They did not know, and I did not tell them what I planned to do, so they are not at fault,” he said at the time, according to the AP.

More than 200 people appeared for jury selection at the Oakland County court Tuesday, as the trial for Jennifer Crumbley was set to begin. The parents were charged soon after the shooting and have been held in jail for more than two years, unable to make bail.

James Crumbley’s trial will be held in March.

The Associated Press contributed.

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