Jennifer Crumbley's son murdered four people during a 2021 school shooting in Oxford, Mich.
Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of convicted Michigan high school shooter Ethan Crumbley, was found guilty on four counts of involuntary manslaughter Tuesday, one for each of the victims her son killed.
Jurors began deliberating Monday. During her trial, prosecutors claimed Crumbley did nothing to prevent her son from killing the students at Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich., in November 2021.
The victims of the shootings were Hana St. Juliana, 14, Tate Myre, 16, Justin Shilling, 17, and Madisyn Baldwin, 17.
Jennifer and her husband, James, who is set to go on trial in March, were each charged with the involuntary manslaughter counts.
Prosecutors had pointed to a meeting the morning of the shooting between school officials and both parents.
The parents were notified after the school saw a drawing of a gun the shooter made on a math worksheet, according to the prosecution. But the meeting ended abruptly, prosecutors said, and Jennifer declined to bring her son home.
Crumbley also testified in her own defense. Questioned by her attorney Shannon Smith, Jennifer told the court her family had lost “everything,” NBC reported, though she said she didn’t want to describe herself as a victim “because I do not want to disrespect the families that truly are the victims in this.”
The gun the shooter used during the shooting was purchased for him by his parents as an early Christmas present just days before. Crumbley claimed that guns were not really her interest and that her husband was the one responsible for storing guns in the house.
“I just didn’t really feel comfortable just being in charge of that,” she said in a broadcast of her testimony, posted by WXYZ. “It was more [James’] thing so I let him handle that.”
One revelation that came out during the trial was that Crumbley was engaged in an extramarital affair with Brian Meloche, a firefighter, to whom she sent messages in the aftermath of the shooting that she “failed as a parent,” CNN reported.
When asked about the messages by her attorney, Jennifer said her view on the situation had changed.
“I don’t think I’m a failure as a parent,” she said. “But at the time I guess I didn’t see, I felt bad that Ethan was sad at those things and I guess, I don’t know, I felt like I failed somewhere.”
Earlier in the trial, prosecutors played video of the Crumbleys’ initial interview with police, which begins with footage of the parents sitting at a table with two detectives. In it, both seem to express disbelief at their son’s actions.
“He’s never done anything bad,” Jennifer says at one point.
Later, when in a room with her son, she is seen asking him, “Why? Why?”
In December, the shooter was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to 24 charges, including terrorism, in 2022.
In a statement to PEOPLE, Nick Suplina, Senior Vice President for Law and Policy at Everytown for Gun Safety, said, "Today’s verdict underscores the important responsibility of parents and gun owners in preventing children from having unsupervised access to deadly weapons."
Suplina added, "Plain and simple, the deadly shooting at Oxford High School in 2021 should have — and could have — been prevented had the Crumbley’s not acquired a gun for their 15-year-old son. This decision is an important step forward in ensuring accountability and, hopefully, preventing future tragedies."
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