School Shooter's Parents Lose Appeal, Will Stand Trial

Jennifer and James Crumbley face charges of involuntary manslaughter
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 3, 2023 9:20 AM CDT
Appeal Denied: Parents of School Shooter to Stand Trial
In this Feb. 8, 2022, photo, Jennifer and James Crumbley, the parents of Ethan Crumbley, a teenager accused of killing four students in a shooting at Oxford High School, appear in court in Rochester Hills, Michigan.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, file)

The Michigan Supreme Court turned down an appeal Tuesday, clearing the way for the parents of a teenager who killed four fellow students in a shooting at Oxford High School to face trial on involuntary manslaughter charges. James and Jennifer Crumbley are accused of making a gun available to Ethan Crumbley and ignoring his mental health needs, per the AP. The state appeals court in March said the couple could face trial, and the Supreme Court said it would let that decision stand. The shooter killed Madisyn Baldwin, Tate Myre, Hana St. Juliana and Justin Shilling at Oxford High, about 40 miles north of Detroit, in November 2021. Six students and a teacher were also wounded.

Ethan Crumbley pleaded guilty to terrorism and murder. A judge last week said he's eligible for life in prison without parole. Attorneys for the parents insist the school shooting was not foreseeable. They acknowledge that bad decisions were made but not ones that should rise to charges of involuntary manslaughter. The teen and his parents met with school staff on the day of the shooting after a teacher noticed violent drawings, but no one checked his backpack for a gun. He was allowed to stay.

The 17-year-old, who was 15 at the time of the shooting, will be sentenced Dec. 8. The judge will have an option of giving him a prison term that would make him eligible for parole in the decades ahead. Colin King, a psychologist who has met with the teen, has described him as a "feral child" who was neglected by his parents. Judge Kwame Rowe said his home life was "not ideal," with his parents often drinking alcohol and arguing, but "not terrible." The teen "appeared to have a loving and supportive family," Rowe said Friday. "He went on family vacations, owned several pets, and had visits from family. ... In defendant's own words, his childhood was 'good.'" (More Ethan Crumbley stories.)

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