Jury: James Crumbley Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter

A jury has found James Crumbley, the father of the Oxford High School shooter, guilty of four counts of involuntary manslaughter, drawing to a close the nationally watched trial that raised questions about access to guns and parental accountability.

The jury of 6 men and 6 women deliberated for about an hour on Wednesday and all day Thursday, for a total of 10 1/2 hours in order to come to a guilty verdict after hearing five days of testimony.

Crumbley will be sentenced April 9, the same day as his wife, Jennifer, who also was convicted. They both face up to 15 years in prison.

Prosecutors argued that Crumbley was the adult “in the best position” to stop the shootings carried out by his son on Nov. 30, 2021 but failed to exercise ordinary care by preventing his son access to the family’s guns.

To convict Crumbley, prosecutors had to prove he was grossly negligent in allowing his then 15-year-old son, Ethan Crumbley, access to the gun, didn’t practice ordinary care and that the shooting was foreseeable.

The jury had one question during deliberations about how to define gross negligence and willful neglect.

Evidence presented by prosecutors included journal entries by the shooter detailing his plans to “shoot up” his school to text messages to a friend, lamenting his mental health. They highlighted an unopened trigger lock in a clear plastic bag that came with the 9mm gun used in the shooting and Crumbley’s decision not to take his son home the morning of the shooting after school officials showed him and his wife a disturbing math worksheet. The teen had drawn pictures and words on, including a gun and the words “Help Me.”

When school officials asked the Crumbleys to take the teen home, they said they couldn’t. They had to work.

Surveillance video of the shooting played in court without audio, where jurors saw the shooter methodically moving through the school’s hallways, shooting one classmate after another. The courtroom was silent as the jury watched; one juror put his hand as on his mouth and others reached for tissues.

Ethan Crumbley killed four students with a 9mm SIG Sauer, including Madisyn Baldwin, 16; Tate Myre, 16; Justin Shilling, 17; and Hana St. Juliana, 14.

James Crumbley had hidden in the armoire in its case, with the bullets hidden in a completely different spot underneath some jeans. A cable lock that came with the gun had been in a bag that was opened, but appeared to be never used.

Detroit News