PONTIAC, Michigan – A Michigan jury has found Jennifer Crumbley guilty of four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the Oxford High School shooting, in which her teenage son killed four classmates and injured seven others.
The jury reached its unanimous verdict after 10 hours of deliberation. Crumbley, 45, had pleaded not guilty to the charges. Her husband, James Crumbley, will be tried separately in March. The couple’s son, Ethan Crumbley, was convicted in December of the deadly shooting on November 30, 2021.
During the trial, the prosecution accused Jennifer Crumbley of neglecting her son’s mental health and enabling his access to a gun, which he used in the school shooting. The defense countered with arguments that painted Crumbley as a “messy” working mother, attempting to draw parallels between her life and that of the accused.
The trial has revealed a complex web of family dynamics, including an extramarital affair, an admission of regret, and a Taylor Swift reference. Crumbley is set to be sentenced on April 9.
The case is particularly significant as no parent has previously been charged, tried, or convicted in connection with a mass school shooting carried out by their child. This historic verdict is a crucial step in holding parents accountable for the actions of their children in cases involving gun violence in schools.
The prosecution’s successful argument centered on Crumbley’s awareness of her son’s mental state and the purchase of a gun for him, despite clear warning signs and concerns raised by the school. The defense, in contrast, emphasized her husband’s fondness for guns and sought to shift blame onto the school for not taking more decisive action.
The involuntary manslaughter charges were particularly significant, as Michigan law states that a parent has a legal duty to exercise reasonable care to control their minor child and prevent them from causing harm to others. The jury’s decision marks a critical moment in the ongoing national conversation about gun safety and parental responsibility in preventing acts of violence in schools.