The mother of an American teenager who was sentenced to life in prison for killing four students at his high school in 2021 with a gun given to him by his parents was found guilty of manslaughter on Tuesday.
The 12 jurors who began deliberations Monday morning at the courthouse in Pontiac, Michigan, delivered their verdict early Tuesday afternoon. Sentencing for Jennifer Crumbley, 45, mother of Ethan Crumbley, is scheduled for April 9.
The father, James Crumbley, 47, is due to stand trial separately in March.
The parents are accused of negligent homicide because they failed to fulfill their legal obligation to control the actions of their child, who was 15 years old at the time of the crime. You face a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
James Crumbley | AFP
Ms. Crumbley failed in her “elementary duty of vigilance,” Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said Friday, on the final day of the hearing, and believed initiative on her part could have prevented the murder.
“She could have searched her backpack, she could have asked her son where the gun was. “She could have kept the ammunition under lock and key, she could have jammed the weapon,” she particularly emphasized.
But defense attorney Shannon Smith pointed to the “unpredictable” nature of the tragedy.
Jennifer Crumbley | Getty Images via AFP
“Can all parents be responsible for everything their children do?” argued the lawyer, fearing a “very dangerous trial for all parents and one of the first of its kind.”
Jennifer Crumbley testified last week that her husband brought home the Sig Sauer 9mm pistol as an early Christmas present a few days before the shooting and that she took their son to a shooting range the next day.
“As a parent, you spend your life protecting your child from danger. “You never imagine that you have to stop him from hurting someone else,” she said.
Ethan Crumbley | AFP
Despite a summons from parents on the day of the tragedy, teachers left school without taking him home after discovering an “alarming” drawing in Ethan Crumbley's place and advising him to follow psychologically.
Ethan Crumbley was tried as an adult and sentenced to life in prison without parole in an Oakland County court in December.
Ethan Crumbley | AFP
The teenager pleaded guilty in October 2022 to bringing the gun with 50 bullets in his backpack to his high school and shooting the high school students.
He killed two girls and two boys aged 14 to 17 and injured six other students and a teacher.