James Crumbley: Father of teenage Michigan school shooter convicted - after wife also found guilty

James Crumbley: Father of teenage Michigan school shooter convicted - after wife also found guilty

The father of a teenager who shot four classmates dead has been found guilty of manslaughter a month after his wife was also convicted.

Ethan Crumbley is serving life in prison for murder after killing four classmates at Oxford High School, near Detroit, in Michigan, in November 2021, when he was 15.

In a landmark case, his mother Jennifer Crumbley, 45, was found guilty of four counts of manslaughter – one for each victim – in February this year.

After prosecutors argued Ethan’s father also bore responsibility because he and his wife gave their son the gun and ignored signs of violence, James Crumbley, 47, was convicted on Thursday.

The Crumbleys were the first parents to be charged with manslaughter in a child’s school shooting in a country where such incidents are relatively common.

Gun safety experts hope the Crumbley trials serve as a wake-up call for parents to secure weapons in their homes, with 75% of school shooters getting guns from home, according to government research.

“This is a very egregious and rare, rare set of facts,” prosecutor Karen McDonald told the jury on Wednesday.

Ms McDonald said James Crumbley repeatedly ignored warning signs his son was deeply disturbed, did not get him help, and did not do enough to safely store a firearm in the family home.

“He did nothing over and over and over again,” she added.

Ms McDonald also presented texts Ethan sent to a friend and journal entries in the months before the shooting, in which he talked about wanting medical help and hearing voices, but he was worried his parents would be “pissed”.

On one occasion, according to a text message to a friend, Ms McDonald said Ethan had asked James Crumbley to take him to the doctor, but his dad “gave me some pills and told me to suck it up”.

Defense lawyer Mariell Lehman argued James Crumbley could not have possibly foreseen his son would carry out a mass shooting.

“James had no idea that his son was having a hard time,” Ms Lehman told jurors, saying no evidence had been presented that James knew the contents of his son’s text messages or journal.