Prosecutors want 10-year sentence for school shooter’s parents

By Ed White | Associated Press

PONTIAC, Mich. — Michigan prosecutors are recommending at least 10 years in prison next week for two parents who are the first in the United States to be held criminally responsible for a school shooting.

Jennifer Crumbley showed a “scary lack of remorse” for her role, and James Crumbley “failed to exercise even the slightest measure of ordinary care” that could have prevented the deaths of four Oxford High School students in 2021 , prosecutors said in court. filing Wednesday.

The Crumbleys, the parents of shooter Ethan Crumbley, were convicted of manslaughter in separate trials earlier this year. They were not accused of knowing their son’s plan. But prosecutors said they failed to lock up a gun in his home and ignored his mental health.

The maximum prison sentence for this crime is 15 years. But the minimum sentence set by the judge on April 9 will be critical because the Crumbleys will be eligible for parole after that date. They will get credit for about two and a half years spent in the Oakland County Jail since their arrest.

Messages seeking comment from defense attorneys were not immediately returned Wednesday.

In their filing, prosecutors revealed that Jennifer Crumbley, 46, hoped to avoid prison and instead be fitted with an electronic tether and live with her attorney, Shannon Smith. They said James Crumbley, 47, also hoped to be released.

“Such a proposed sentence is a slap in the face of the severity of the tragedy caused by the gross negligence of the defendant, the victims and their families,” said Assistant Prosecutor Marc Keast, referring to Jennifer Crumbley.

On the day of the shooting, the Crumbleys went to school to discuss Ethan’s morbid drawing of a gun, a bullet, a wounded figure, and phrases such as: “The thoughts won’t stop.” Help me.”

Instead of taking their son home, the Crumbleys left with a list of contacts for mental health services and returned to work. A few hours later, Ethan, who was 15 at the time, pulled a Sig Sauer 9mm handgun from his backpack and began shooting.

The school staff had not demanded that Ethan be expelled from school. But they also didn’t know that James Crumbley had bought the gun four days earlier and that it looked like the one in the drawing, according to trial testimony.

Ethan, now 17, is serving a life sentence without parole after pleading guilty to murder and terrorism.

During James Crumbley’s trial, the judge banned him from using a phone and tablet while in prison. The sheriff’s department, which runs the jail, said he made the threats, although no details were publicly disclosed at the time.

In his court filing, Keast said the offensive threats were aimed at Karen McDonald, the county’s elected prosecutor. He offered five examples.

“I’m… wild, Karen. Yes, Karen McDonald. You better be…scared,” he said on Jan. 3, according to Keast.

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