Oakland County Sheriff's Office

Parents of Michigan high school shooter sentenced to 10 to 15 years in prison

April 9, 2024
James and Jennifer Crumbley were convicted earlier this year of involuntary manslaughter after they failed to prevent their 15-year-old son from fatally shooting 4 students at an Oxford, Michigan, high school.

A Michigan judge has sentenced James and Jennifer Crumbley to 10 to 15 years in prison each for their roles in a 2021 fatal high school shooting carried out by their son.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the Crumbleys are the first parents in the United States to be held criminally responsible in a mass shooting committed by their child. Ethan Crumbley was 15 and a sophomore at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan, in November 2021 when he brought a gun to school and fatally shot four students. Another seven people were injured.

Separate juries convicted each parent earlier this year of four counts of involuntary manslaughter. Ethan Crumbley pleaded guilty in 2022 to murder and other charges and has been sentenced to life in prison. Killed in the attack were Tate Myre, 16; Hana St. Juliana, 14; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; and Justin Shilling, 17.

Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Matthews said the parents' criminal convictions stemmed from repeated acts of ignoring their son's troubles. She termed Jennifer Crumbley's behavior at the school the day of the shooting "apathetic."

Ethan's father bought a handgun as an early Christmas present and set the stage just four days for the shooting attack.

The parents have maintained that they saw no signs that their son would hurt anyone or was mentally ill, that they did not know of his plan to shoot up the school and that the gun was not a gift or his to freely use, but was hidden in a bedroom armoire, unloaded in a case and was to be used only at the shooting range with his dad.

The prosecution portrayed the Crumbleys as selfish and neglectful parents, alleging they ignored their son's mental health struggles and bought him a gun instead of getting him help.

In both trials, prosecutors argued that the parents could have prevented the massacre had they taken the "smallest" of steps.

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