Mother of Michigan school shooter takes stand in her trial for involuntary manslaughter


PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — The mother of the Michigan school shooter took the stand Thursday in her trial for involuntary manslaughter after the jury heard the teenager blamed his parents for not getting him help before the 2021 attack that killed four students.

A teenager described a plan to shoot up his Michigan school in a personal journal, writing that his parents wouldn’t listen to his pleas for help, according to evidence presented Thursday at his mother’s trial.

An investigator read portions of Ethan Crumbley’s journal moments before jurors watched a partial video of the shooting, which left four students dead at Oxford High School in 2021.

The audio was turned off. Unlike the jury, Jennifer Crumbley didn’t look at the screen and instead cried with her forehead resting on her hands. Victims’ relatives in the courtroom were also in tears.

Jennifer Crumbley, 45, is charged with involuntary manslaughter. She and husband James are accused of making a gun accessible at home and ignoring their son’s mental health needs.

“I have zero help for my mental problems and it’s causing me to shoot up the … school,” Ethan Crumbley, then 15, wrote in his journal.

“My parents won’t listen to me about help or therapist,” the boy said, adding that he would spend his life in prison and that “many people have about a day left to live.”

The shooter wrote he had access to a gun and ammunition: “I am fully committed.”

The Crumbleys are the first parents in the U.S. to be charged in a mass school shooting committed by their child. James Crumbley, 47, faces trial in March. Ethan, now 17, pleaded guilty and is serving a life prison sentence.

The couple had more than $6,000 when they were arrested four days after the shooting. The cash included $3,000 from their son’s bank account, Det. Lt. Tim Willis testified Thursday.

They “left 99 cents,” he told the jury.

Prosecutors rested their case on the sixth day of trial.

Jennifer Crumbley’s attorney, Shannon Smith, again renewed her call for Ethan Crumbley to be brought to court to be challenged about his journal and other evidence. But Judge Cheryl Matthews said no, noting that the teen’s lawyers have indicated that he would invoke his right to remain silent.

Although Ethan Crumbley pleaded guilty to murder and other crimes, his no-parole sentence still can be appealed.

A meeting between school staff and the Crumbleys a few hours before the shooting has been a key point in the mother’s case.

The parents were presented with a disturbing drawing their son had scrawled on an assignment. It depicted a gun and bullet and the lines, “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me. The world is dead. My life is useless.”

The school recommended that Ethan get help as soon as possible, but the Crumbleys declined to take him home, saying they needed to return to work. Their son stayed in school and later pulled a handgun from his backpack to fire at students.


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