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10th Apr 2024

Parents of Michigan school shooter sentenced to 10-15 years in prison

Anna Martin

Parents of Michigan school shooter

The parents of a Michigan teenager who shot dead four students have each been sentenced to 10 to 15 years in prison

James and Jennifer Crumbley have already been imprisoned for over two years since their arrest in a Detroit warehouse days after the shooting.

Though they were tried separately, their sentencing took place together in an Oakland County courtroom.

Jennifer and James Crumbley did not know their son Ethan had a handgun in a backpack when he was dropped off at Oxford High School.

Yet prosecutors convinced jurors the parents still played a disastrous role in the violence.

The Crumbleys were accused of not securing the newly purchased gun at home and acting indifferently to signs of their son’s deteriorating mental health, especially when confronted with a chilling classroom drawing earlier that same day.

Their son was 15 when he killed four students with a semi-automatic handgun at Oxford High School. Seven others were wounded in the shooting.

He is now serving life in prison without parole.

The Crumbleys are the first parents to be held criminally responsible for a mass school shooting committed by their children.

Speaking at their sentencing, Oakland County Judge Cheryl Matthews said, “These convictions confirm repeated acts or lack of acts that could have halted an oncoming runaway train, about repeatedly ignoring things that make a reasonable person feel the hair on the back of their neck stand up.

“Opportunity knocked over and over again, louder and louder, and was ignored. No one’s no one answered. And these two people should have and sure didn’t.”

Nicole Beausoleil, the mother of shooting victim Madisyn Baldwin, said the Crumbleys had failed at parenting.

“While you were purchasing a gun for your son and leaving it unlocked. I was helping her finish her college essays.”

“You decided parenting wasn’t a priority and because of that I’ve lost my daughter.”

Jill Soave, the mother of another 17-year-old victim, Justin Shilling, was the second parent to speak.

She noted that her “horror and trauma is hard to put into words”.

The prosecutor’s sentencing recommendations were based on four separate counts of involuntary manslaughter, one for each of the four students who were killed.

During Tuesday’s sentencing, the prosecution said James Crumbley showed a “total lack of remorse” after they read from a profanity-laden transcript of a call he made from jail. They alleged that James Crumbley had made death threats against the lead prosecutor in the case during the call.