James and Jennifer Crumbley Sentenced to Maximum 10-15 Years

Oxford School Shooter Parents

In an Oakland County, Michigan, court, Judge Cheryl Matthews sentenced James and Jennifer Crumbley to 10-15 years in prison each for their roles in the 2021 Oxford High School mass shooting that was committed by their son. Ethan Crumbley murdered four students, injured seven other people and terrorized a community using a gun that he had long begged for.

The judge said the state sentencing guidelines were not sufficient to recognize the harm of the shooting.

The case is historic, marking the first time parents of a school shooter were held criminally liable for their gross negligence in their actions and non-actions.

In Michigan, prosecutors said, felonies that rise out of the same event must run concurrently, so the most Matthews could have imposed is 15 years in total. 

“Opportunity knocked over and over again and was ignored,” said Matthews.

Matthews said the convictions were not about poor parenting. They confirm the repeated actions or lack of actions the Crumbleys took, where they ignored things that would have made the hair stand up on a reasonable person’s neck.

Prosecutors said the Crumbleys ignored warning signs about their son’s declining mental health, including not telling school officials the family owned guns when they called met with school officials the morning of the shooting to discuss a disturbing drawing the teen had down in class. The drawing included phrases such as “help me,” “the thoughts won’t stop” and “blood everywhere.”

Judge Matthews called Jennifer Crumbley’s behavior at the school the day of the shooting “apathetic.”

Jennifer Crumbley told the court that while she felt “deep remorse, regret and grief” about the shooting, she also deflected some of the blame onto school officials and the prosecutors portrayal of her as neglectful.

Victims’ families have demanded further accountability. They are seeking changes to governmental immunity laws that protect schools from being sued and want to see a requirement for independent reviews after any mass shooting.

Oakland County prosecutors have said they do not plan to charge anyone else in connection with the massacre.

The Crumbleys, who are planning appeals, had asked to be sentenced to time served. They have been jailed for almost 2 1/2 years on $500,000 bond each.