Parents Of Michigan School Shooter Ethan Crumbley Sentenced

On Tuesday (April 9), a historic sentence was handed down to the parents of Michigan school shooter Ethan Crumbley. James Crumbley and Jennifer Crumbley are the first parents convicted in a U.S. mass school shooting. A court sentenced them both to at least 10, but up to 15 years in prison, per the Associated Press.

RELATED: Michigan School District Bans ALL Backpacks In Response To Increased Threat Of Gun Violence

Ethan is responsible for the 2021 death of four Oxford High School students. A judge sentenced the now-17-year-old to life in prison with no possibility of parole in December 2023. He had pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and terrorism charges. Like his parents’ conviction, Ethan Crumbley’s sentence is also a rare occurrence given his teenage status.

Following the attack on Oxford HS, his parents were charged with involuntary manslaughter. They had separate trials, but a jury convicted Jennifer Crumbley in February, while James Crumbley was convicted mid-March.

How The Parents Of Ethan Crumbley Could’ve Prevented The Shooting, Per Prosecutors

Prosecutors reportedly secured the convictions after presenting evidence of an unsecured gun at home and indifference toward the teen’s mental health.

During a math assignment on Nov. 30, 2021, Ethan Crumbley reportedly drew dark images of a gun, a bullet, and a wounded man. He also wrote phrases like, “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me. My life is useless. Blood everywhere.”

After a 15-minute meeting about the assignment, his parents did not volunteer to take their 15-year-old home. Oxford High staff did not demand it.

Ethan had reportedly told a school counselor that the drawing was about his interest in creating video games. However, his parents failed to mention that the gun resembled one James had purchased just four days earlier — a Sig Sauer 9 mm. Ethan had described the weapon on social media as his “beauty.”

No one, parents or school officials, checked Ethan’s backpack during or after the meeting.

Later that day (Nov. 30), Ethan pulled a handgun from his backpack and began shooting at the school. Ultimately, four students — Justin Shillin, Madisyn Baldwin, Tate Myre, Hana St. Juliana — died. Seven others sustained gunshot wounds.

During their trials, no specialists testified about Ethan’s mental health. However, a journal entry from the teenager demonstrated a lack of care on his parents’ behalf.

“I have zero help for my mental problems and it’s causing me to shoot up the … school,” Ethan wrote. “I want help but my parents don’t listen to me so I can’t get any help.”

Ethan had allegedly revealed hallucinations months before the 2021 shooting, but in court, Jennifer said she believed he was “messing around.”

Parents Of Deceased Oxford High Students Speak At Sentencing

Before sentencing, family members of the students killed in the shooting asked a judge to sentence the parents to 10 years, condemning them as failures whose selfishness led to four deaths and a community tragedy.

“The blood of our children is on your hands, too,” Justin’s father, Craig Shillin, said.

Nicole Beausoleil, Madisyn’s mother, recalled simple things she enjoyed doing for her daughter, such as scheduling an oil change for her car or helping her choose senior-year classes.

“While you were purchasing a gun for your son and leaving it unlocked, I was helping her finish her college essays,” Beausoleil told James and Jennifer Crumbley.

Prosecutors commented that “tragically simple actions” by both parents could have stopped the deaths. One example action included using a cable lock to secure the gun, which investigators found in the parents’ home and prosecutors demonstrated at James’ trial.

Associated Press reporter Ed White contributed to this report. 

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